Sweet potatoes are often singled out as a healthier option than potatoes, is it really?
Sweet potatoes are rich in beta carotene.
Photo: Nastasya Day / Pexels
Potatoes are one of America’s favorite snacks, especially French fries. The sweet potato or sweet potato is a tuber that, although not from the same family, is promoted as a healthy option. We will see if it really is a better option.
Potatoes and sweet potatoes are native to parts of Central and South America. The Incas of Peru, between 8,000 a. C. and 5,000 a. C. were the first to grow potatoes. Potatoes are from the Solanaceae family, while sweet potatoes are Convolvulaceae.
Differences in nutrients
Both tubers are rich in fiber, vitamins B6 and C and potassium.
The difference is that sweet potatoes are very rich in vitamin A in the form of beta carotene. A 100 gram serving exceeds 100% of the recommended daily intake for an adult.
The plus of the sweet potato
Sweet potatoes with orange flesh are the richest in beta carotene. Sweet potatoes with purple flesh are richer in anthocyanins.
Beta-carotene and anthocyanins are chemicals that give vegetables their bright colors. These phytochemicals are antioxidants being investigated for their potential role in human health and prevention of diseases such as cancer.
Anthocyanins have effects anti-inflammatory and beta-carotene can increase defenses against UV radiation.
Despite its nutrients such as vitamin C, potassium, and vitamin B6, the Harvard School of Public Health Source of Nutrition does not rate it as the best source, noting that broccoli has almost nine times more vitamin C than a potato and navy beans have about twice the potassium.
Potatoes raise blood glucose more than table sugar. A cup of potatoes has a similar effect on blood sugar as a can of cola, according to Harvard.
Foods that are high on the glycemic index (GI) cause blood sugar and insulin to rise and then fall rapidly. This effect can cause people to feel hungry again shortly after eating, which can lead to overeating.
Not all potatoes They have the same glycemic index, it depends on the variety and cooking. They generally meet a GI between 80 and 90. While the Sucrose (table sugar) has an average GI of 65.
The boiled potato has a GI of 78; Meanwhile he boiled sweet potato has a GI of 63, according to Harvard Health Magazine.
Foods that contain carbohydrates can be classified as High GI (≥70), moderate (56-69) or low (≤55) in relation to pure glucose (GI = 100), he points out to Oregon State University.
Different types of potatoes vary in their glycemic index (GI) and how they are prepared also matters.
So which one is better?
In terms of nutrients, the sweet potato stands out for being a rich source of beta-carotene. The Source of Nutrition advises that if you choose to consume sweet potato instead of potato you also have to be careful with the portionssince the GI of sweet potato is almost as high as that of a white potato.
Harvard also notes that diets rich in potatoes and carbohydrate-rich foods and similar rapid digestion can contribute to the obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
To take advantage of the sweet potato
Boiling sweet potatoes retains more beta-carotene and makes the nutrient more absorbable than other cooking methods, such as baking or frying. Up to 92% of the nutrient can be retained by limiting cooking time, such as boiling in a pot with a tight-fitting lid for 20 minutes.
Cook with the skin to try to maintain the nutrients, including beta-carotene and vitamin C. You can eat the skin and get more fiber.