From fries to toasts, sweet potatoes seem to be popping up everywhere as the mainstream ‘healthy carb’. Let’s learn more about the different reasons to enjoy this simple root vegetable with nutrition Expert Julie Cunningham.

The humble sweet potato is a versatile food, able to work into anything from pancakes to pies.  No matter what you call them or how you like to eat them, sweet potatoes are a fantastic source of several nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, manganese, vitamin B6, and vitamin E.

Sweet potatoes are particularly rich in beta-carotene, the nutrient required for the body to formulate vitamin A.  They’re also a good source of fiber, and a fair source of iron as well.  All of this comes neatly wrapped in a package that can be popped in the microwave for a quick snack.  What more could we ask for?

Let’s learn more about the simple goodness of sweet potatoes:

Perfect Portions

Sweet potatoes are perfectly portioned.  Many people think of both white & sweet potatoes as “off limits” because they believe they have too many Calories and carbs.  The truth is, a medium sweet potato has about 100 Calories and 24 grams of carbohydrate.  A perfect snack or side dish, they can also serve as the base for more decadent treats.

Great Source of Fiber

Sweet potatoes help regulate digestion. Sweet potatoes are full of fiber. With 3 grams of fiber per serving, a medium-sized sweet potato will give an adult about 10% of the fiber needed for a day.

Better Skin and Vision

Sweet potatoes help your skin glow. A great source of vitamin A, sweet potatoes promote healthy skin as well as maintaining good vision.  

Plant-based Energy

Sweet potatoes help keep your energy up by providing iron.   Most dietary iron comes from meat or seafood, but at about 1 gram of iron per serving, sweet potatoes are one vegetable that packs a punch in the iron department.

I’ve had the opportunity to visit the Sweet Potato Festival in Snow Hill, NC, and have eaten sweet potatoes just about any way possible.  Sweet potato biscuits, sweet potato pancakes, sweet potato fries, sweet potato casserole, sweet potato pie.  

Of all the ways I’ve eaten them, a sweet potato baked in the oven with butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon is still the taste of home.  

That’s not only good for the body, it’s good for the soul.

Julie Cunningham, MPH, RD, CDE, LDN is a Hendersonville, NC-based private practice dietitian committed to providing others with the tools and information they need to manage their health. Through her welcoming, compassionate approach to wellness, Julie focuses on helping individuals find the motivation they need to improve their health.  Learn more about Julie at Red Apple RD.