Yes, Sweet Potatoes are Paleo!
White Potatoes vs. Sweet Potatoes
We’ve tackled on our previous post that potatoes are not Paleo. This is very specific to white potatoes the common potatoes used to make French fries and most chips available in stores.
White potatoes are really not bad at all especially to people who are very active and do not have conditions such as metabolic disorders, diabetes, gut problems, white potatoes can be consumed in moderation. But for people suffering under the conditions above, it should be totally avoided as this may cause serious health problems.
Sweet potatoes on the other hand are tubers that contain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants making them Paleo-approved. They have normally purplish skin and yellow inside but can also be orange, red, gray, tan and pale yellow on the outside depending on its type. Sweet potatoes usually have sweet taste.
Vitamins, Minerals and Antioxidants
Sweet potatoes are loaded in Vitamins, B3, B5 and C, and minerals like manganese, potassium and copper . They have more fiber and vitamin A compared to white potatoes.
The variety of colors of sweet potatoes tells whether which antioxidants they contain. Orange sweet potatoes for example are rich in beta carotene where it gets its color. Beta carotene is converted by the body to become vitamin A and is good for healthy skin, eye sight and immune system. Purple sweet potatoes have anthocyanin which is proven to help in treating hypertension, diarrhea, UTI and common colds to name a few. Unlike other purple fruits and vegetables, sweet potatoes contain anthocyanin not only from the skin but also from its flesh.
Sporamins are storage proteins in sweet potatoes that have unique antioxidant properties. They help prevent oxidative damage to cells.
Other fascinating nutrient groups that sweet potatoes contain are resin glycosides, balatins in particular. Balatosides or the groups of glycosides in sweet potato have been shown to have antibacterial and antifungal properties.
Most people think that since sweet potatoes are similar to white potatoes (being both tubers); they are very starchy and that these foods are high in glycemic index.
Surprisingly, sweet potatoes are lower on the scale in terms of glycemic index compared to white potatoes. The glycemic index of white potato is 47% higher than sweet potato.
But then again, if you are not athletic or someone who is struggling in losing weight or metabolic disorders, then sweet potatoes may not be good for you, as starch for people with metabolic disorder is not helpful at all.
Unlike white potatoes, sweet potatoes do not contain harmful substances such as saponins and lectins, which are known to increase intestinal permeability that results to gut problems.
Oxalates, however, are present in sweet potatoes. Oxalates are antinuntrients that can prevent mineral absorption, calcium for example, and may cause kidney stones or gall bladder problems if consumed regularly.
What You Can Do With Sweet Potatoes?
Sweet potatoes are available in the markets all-year round. Like white potatoes, there are many interesting recipes which can be used as guide when incorporating sweet potatoes in your daily Paleo meal. Sweet potatoes can be mashed, braised, scalloped, fried and stuffed. It can also be used for soups by making it a puree. They are very versatile that it can go along with other dishes very well.
You can experiment with sweet potatoes and combine with other meats. Recent research suggests consuming sweet potatoes with fat to maximize the benefit of its vitamin A content.
Also, boiling or steaming sweet potatoes preserves its anthocyanins.
What Experts Say About Sweet Potatoes… Is It Paleo?
“Potatoes are a very new food for humans, as they came from North America less than 600 years ago. On the other hand, it seems that sweet potatoes are part of the human diet since a long time ago”. – Dr. Loren Cordain
“Basic sweet potatoes are strong sources of beta-carotene, manganese, and copper. A small one has 22g carbs and 3g fiber (food for your gut flora), making it the perfect post-workout snack. Amazing with cinnamon”. – Mark Sisson
All you ever wanted to know about Sweet Potatoes and Paleo
Paleo Leap. Paleo Foods: Sweet Potatoes
A Visual Guide to Yams and Sweet Potatoes (plus How They Fit Into a Primal Eating Plan)
The Paleo Diet. Are Sweet Potatoes Paleo?
Paleo Plan: Q & A: Are sweet potatoes Paleo?
Ultimate Paleo Guide: Are Sweet Potatoes Paleo?
Paleo Magazine: Why Aren’t Potatoes Not Paleo? But yet, Sweet Potatoes are?
The World’s Healthiest Foods: Sweet Potatoes
The Survival Podcast. Why Are Sweet Potatoes Considered a Better Paleo Option
Did we miss anything?
Comment below and let us know what you think. Do you agree with our conclusion?
photo credit: Sweet Potatoes