super roots Super Sweet Potato

Sweet Potato

Basic information

The sweet potato, also called yam in some parts of North America (though not a true yam), is a plant originally from the Neotropical region. Known by the scientific name Ipomoea batatas, the tuber is native to Peru, where it dates back to 750 BC. It is considered one of the most ancient food crops known to man. There are approximately 5000 varieties, notably the white, purple, pink, orange and yellow sweet potatoes.

Seasonal availability

All year round.

Human health benefits

Sweet potatoes contain beta carotene, the pigment responsible for their orange hue. This chemical compound protects people’s eyes from ultraviolet radiation, preventing blindness and improving vision at night. Another virtue of the sweet potato is its fiber, which flushes out fats and keeps cholesterol from building up in arteries.

This food is good for skin and mucous membranes, and is an important factor in anti-aging, preventing wrinkles and stimulating hair and nail growth. Interestingly, a sweet potato boasts more vitamin A than a carrot.


Sweet potatoes contain large amounts of starch, fiber (both cellulose and pectin), minerals, potassium and vitamins. They are more nutritious than regular potatoes, and contain more beta-carotene and ascorbic acid than carrots and citrus, respectively. This food’s sweetness comes from glucose, fructose and sucrose.

Studies show that the extract of this root is beneficial for inflammation and obesity. Purple sweet potatoes also have flavonoids, meaning that their antioxidants help wounds to heal. Purple sweet potatoes also trigger the capacity to reduce colo-rectal carcinogens.

The leaves and roots of sweet potatoes also help people suffering from anemia, leukemia, diabetes, hemorrhages or high blood pressure because they are high in vitamins and carotenes. In some cases, mothers that eat this food can produce more breastmilk.

Additionally, patients with type II diabetes will do well to include this Peruvian superfood in their diet because of its valuable sugar content. Sweet potato extract can help control blood sugar levels, particularly adiponectin, a hormone triggered by fat cells that regulates how the body metabolizes insulin.

Nutritional value

Geographical distribution