Baked Sweet Potatoes Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Baked Sweet Potatoes Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Baked sweet potato

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

 

Baked sweet potatoes are a nutritious and healthy complex carbohydrate that you can enjoy year-round. Both sweet and savory, this top potato pick is packed full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. Sweet potatoes can be mashed and served as a side, in casseroles, or sliced and baked for sweet potato fries. Curious if sweet potatoes are right for you? Here’s everything you need to know about this popular veggie.

Baked Sweet Potato Nutrition Facts

The USDA provides nutritional information for one medium-sized baked potato (2” diameter, 5” long) baked, peel eaten, fat not added in cooking.

  • Calories: 103
  • Fat: 0.17g
  • Sodium: 41mg
  • Carbohydrates: 23.6g
  • Fiber: 3.76g
  • Sugars: 7.39g
  • Protein: 2.29g

With the peel, fat not added in cooking for one medium-sized baked potato (2" diameter, 5" long), the USDA provides these nutrition facts.

  • Calories: 130
  • Fat: 0.219g
  • Sodium: 524mg
  • Carbohydrates: 30g
  • Fiber: 4.82g
  • Sugars: 9.39g
  • Protein: 2.9g

Carbs

Sweet potatoes are primly made-up of carbohydrates with 23 grams per medium-sized potato without the skin and 30 grams per medium-sized potato with the skin. This includes approximately 4 grams of fiber and 7 to 9 grams of naturally-occurring sugar, with the lower figure representing a potato without the peel and the higher number a sweet potato with the peel. Sweet potatoes are a healthy source of complex carbohydrates. That said, they do have a glycemic index of 63, which can cause powerful spikes in blood sugar.

Fats

A baked sweet potato without added butter or oil is very low in total fat. The flesh of the potato without the peel will net you 0.171 grams for fat. If you eat the peel, that number increases slightly to 0.219 but is still well under 1/2 gram of fat per serving. 

Protein

Sweet potatoes are also very low in protein, with amounts ranging from 2.29 for a potato without the peel to 2.9 grams per medium-sized baked sweet potato with the peel. 

Vitamins and Minerals

Where sweet potatoes pack a nutritious punch is in their high vitamin and mineral content. Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A, B6, C, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. A medium-sized sweet potato has 22,000 IU of vitamin A, 22mg of vitamin C, and 0.3mg of vitamin B. When it comes to minerals, a medium-sized baked potato has 542mg of potassium, 43mg of calcium, 31mg of magnesium, and 0.57mg of manganese. 

Health Benefits

Besides tasting delicious, sweet potatoes also offer significant health benefits. Here are some ways that sweet potatoes can boost your health. 

Aids Weight Loss

Sweet potatoes are low in calories and high in dietary fiber, a win-win for anyone trying to lose weight. This powerful combo can help keep you fuller for longer without making a significant dent in your daily calories. Sans peel, a sweet potato only has 103 calories. Eat it with the peel on and a sweet potato still only has 130 calories. The high dietary fiber content also makes a sweet potato an excellent choice when trying to lose weight.

Boost Intake of Antioxidants 

Sweet potatoes, especially the variety with orange flesh, are high in beta-carotene, a provitamin that your body uses to make vitamin A. Beta-carotene is considered a powerful antioxidant that can help reduce free radical damage in your body. Antioxidants can help keep the immune system healthy and may help reduce chronic diseases. Food sources such as sweet potatoes are preferred over supplements for boosting your intake of antioxidants.

Improves Digestive Health

Since sweet potatoes are high in dietary fiber, they often top the list of foods to eat for digestive health. Sweet potatoes contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, which help to relieve and prevent constipation. However, to maximize the benefits, you should eat both the skin and the guts of the potato. The skin has insoluble fiber, which is considered the roughage. And the inside or the “guts” of the potato has soluble fiber, which slows digestion. 

May Help Manage Blood Pressure

Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of potassium, and diets rich in potassium may help regulate blood pressure levels. If your potassium level is too low, you may see an increase in your blood pressure. This can put you at risk of developing hypertension, especially when combined with high sodium intake. By including foods like a sweet potato, you can help keep your potassium levels up and reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure. 

Support Eye Health

Eating sweet potatoes regularly could help to support eye health. Sweet potatoes are rich in beta carotene, which is then converted to vitamin A in the body. Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant that may help improve eye health and prevent vision loss. The best food sources of beta-carotene milk, eggs, leafy green vegetables, and orange and yellow vegetables and fruits. One baked sweet potato in the skin has 1,403 micrograms of vitamin A, which is 156 percent of the daily value (DV). 

Allergies

Having an allergy to sweet potatoes is not common. That said, you can develop an allergy at any age in response to any type of food. Common symptoms of food allergies include hives, shortness of breath, wheezing, vomiting or stomach cramps, swelling of the tongue, dizziness, and in rare cases, anaphylaxis. If you think you have a food allergy, stop eating the triggering food and talk with your doctor.

Varieties

Sweet potatoes fall under two types: pale yellow with dry flesh and dark orange with moist flesh. You can find a variety of sweet potatoes, including garnet and speckled purple sweet potatoes. 

When It’s Best

You can purchase and eat sweet potatoes year-round. Sweet potatoes tend to grow better in warmer climates and are generally harvested in September and early October. They tend to reach peak freshness right around Thanksgiving time, so consider treating yourself to sweet potatoes in the late fall. When choosing potatoes at the store or market, opt for small to medium-sized sweet potatoes that seem heavy for their smaller size. 

Storage and Food Safety

Once at home, store fresh sweet potatoes in a cool, dry place. A pantry or garage can work for storage, but avoid storing uncooked sweet potatoes in the refrigerator. Ideally, you will want to use them within a week of purchase, especially if they are kept at normal room temperature. If you cannot eat them within that time, consider cooking the potato or adding it to a casserole, then freezing the item to eat at a later date. 

How to Prepare

There are a variety of ways to prepare sweet potatoes including baked, boiled, grilled, and roasted. You can use an oven, grill, microwave, or stovetop. Before cooking sweet potatoes, make sure to scrub the skins. Enjoy sweet potatoes on their own, as a side, or in a casserole. Slice a potato into thin strips and bake for sweet potato fries. Mash or puree a cooked sweet potato for a sweet treat.

Recipes 

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Article Sources
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