Story by Meredith Nelson / February 22, 2017


In 1992, the Center for Science in the Public Interest compared the nutritional value of sweet potatoes to other vegetables. Considering fiber content, complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins A and C, iron, and calcium, the sweet potato ranked highest in nutritional value. According to these criteria, sweet potatoes earned 184 points, 100 points over the next on the list, the common potato.

Sweet potato varieties with dark orange flesh have more vitamin A than those with light colored flesh.

Interesting Facts about the Sweet Potato, taken from www.sweetpotato.com:

  • Sweet potatoes are high in Beta Carotene and vitamins E and C.
  • Sweet potatoes are a good source of fiber when eaten with the skin on.
  • Sweet potatoes offer other nutrients such as potassium, iron and vitamin B-6
  • Sweet potatoes can be:
    • Baked
    • Steamed
    • Boiled
    • Microwaved
    • Fried
    • Juiced
    • Pureed
    • Eaten Raw
  • Sweet potatoes are roots, compared to regular potatoes which are tubers (underground stems).
  • Our first president, George Washington grew sweet potatoes on his farmland in Mount Vernon, Virginia.
  • George Washington Carver, a famous scientist, developed 118 products from sweet potatoes including glue for postage stamps and starch for sizing cotton fabrics.
  • North Carolina is the leading producer of sweet potatoes in the United States, producing around 40% of the national supply.  Most of the production is concentrated east of Interstate 95.
  • Sweet potatoes are the official vegetable for North Carolina.
  • Sweet potatoes are an excellent way to eat healthy!  They are fat-free and cholesterol-free.
  • Sweet potatoes have unique health benefits!  They are loaded with vitamins A, C and E – antioxidants that can help prevent heart disease and cancer, bolster the immune system and even slow aging by promoting good vision and healthy skin.  They have been recently reclassified as an “antidiabetic” food.  They are anti-inflammatory and can protect against emphysema.
  • Sweet potatoes are high in Beta Carotene.  They are an excellent source of copper, manganese, potassium, iron and vitamin B-6.
  • Sweet potatoes are a superfood and they taste great!  They are excellent accompaniments to poultry, pork, beef, lamb or seafood.  They can also be substituted in virtually any recipe that calls for apples, squash or white potatoes.

Want to know how to celebrate National Cook a Sweet Potato Day?  Click here to learn “45 Ways to Get Your Yam On!”  Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, dessert . . . it’s all here!