Nutrient Review: Sweet Potatoes


Sweet potatoes are root vegetables. In fact although they have the name of sweet potato they are not actually related to potatoes.Potatoes are tubers which are the stem of the plant vs Sweet Potatoes which as mentioned are roots. Roots are the part of the plant that connect to the ground and provide nutrients and water for the plant. Tubers grow roots on them. Sweet potatoes come in various different sizes and colors. They can be what we will call the classic orange Sweet Potato or they can be purple or white. Sweet Potatoes are a great vegetable to use as a staple food due to their nutrition content and cost.

Nutrition Info

Sweet potatoes are a good source of fiber source of fiber that are essentially fat free. They contain high levels of Vitamins A, C, and B-6. They also contain iron, manganese, and are high in Potassium. They contain roughly 18 grams of carbs, of which 2.5 grams are fiber and roughly 6 grams are sugar in a 100 gram serving.

Sweet potatoes are a good source of beta carotene. If you choose the purple variety they contain the same antioxidant anthocyanin that blueberries contain. That gives them their purple color. They have good antioxidant qualities which are beneficial for fighting free radicals. Another good value of sweet potatoes is their cost. According to the USDA they are roughly .92/lbs. That provides you with approximately 342 calories for less than a dollar. That is not too shabby at all. Overall Sweet potatoes are a great stable food to base a diet on. Below is a nutrient chart with data from USDA Nutrition Database.They do the analysis on the nutrient make up of food items. This is the nutritional value of a boiled sweet potato since most people cook theirs.(there are 62 nutrients in this list)

NutrientUnitValue per 100 g
Vitamin A, IUIU15740
Carotene, beta�g9444
Vitamin A, RAE�g787
Potassium, Kmg230
Phosphorus, Pmg32
Sodium, Namg27
Calcium, Camg27
Magnesium, Mgmg18
Carbohydrate, by differenceg17.72
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acidmg12.8
Choline, totalmg10.8
Folate, total�g6
Folate, food�g6
Folate, DFE�g6
Sugars, totalg5.74
Fiber, total dietaryg2.5
Vitamin K (phylloquinone)�g2.1
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)mg0.94
Iron, Femg0.72
Pantothenic acidmg0.581
Glucose (dextrose)g0.54
Aspartic acidg0.335
Manganese, Mnmg0.266
Zinc, Znmg0.2
Selenium, Se�g0.2
Vitamin B-6mg0.165
Total lipid (fat)g0.14
Glutamic acidg0.135
Copper, Cumg0.094
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturatedg0.061
18:2 undifferentiatedg0.061
Fatty acids, total saturatedg0.031
Tocopherol, betamg0.01

Berkeley Wellness
USDA Nutrition Database

How to Select which Plants to Grow

I have already begun to name some plants that I am interested in growing in my greenhouse. You maybe asking yourself, “What should I grow and why should I grow it?” Then you may answer that with “With things I can eat of course!” While that is a good answer and the main one we are going to solve for here, I am going to take it one step further. It should be based on a healthy diet in my opinion. There are certainly some things I do want to grow and others I don’t because of their health content.

This will be the driving force of how I plan out the space needed and which things I grow in my greenhouse. It also outlines the conditions required to grow your own food. For example if you want to grow something very exotic and tropical the temperature, humidity, water usage, nutrient needs, and the various other requirements requirements are going to be different than corn which is a very common crop here in the US. To know that allows you to plan better. Below is the base line requires as suggested by the FDA for dietary requirements.

Prior to listing this I want to state a couple of things. These are the FDA’s guidelines and by no means are they exhaustive to health research. They are the public health suggestion to citizens. I will get more into how I achieve certain nutrient goals myself in subsequent posts. I suggest that any thing I post in regards to health and diet that you looked into and research yourself. Also make sure to consult a physician prior to making any major diet changes. Here is the vitamin and minerals guidelines from the FDA. It also has potential food sources. Of which I may not consume all of them myself so please also do your due diligence on any of those if you have question. I will provide what I do and the results as I have them.

Please Click the link to go to the chart.

As far as macro nutrients the FDA suggests the following by caloric intake:
2000 cals/day

  • 300 g Carbs of which 25g of Dietary Fiber
  • 65 g of Fat with 20g being saturated
  • 50 g of protein

2500 cals/day

  • 375g of Carbs of which 30 g of Dietary Fiber
  • 80 g of Fat with 25 g being saturated
  • 50 g of protein

Those macro nutrients are the calorie providing nutrients. The vitamins and minerals help with other processes. The FDA also suggests you consume around 2400 mg of Sodium and 300 mg of Cholesterol/day. A thing to remember is that these are guidelines and are based on the averages. Essentially that means it is a starting point but your actual needs are probably different than these exactly. I also don’t necessarily prescribe to this guidelines myself exactly. Use these as a baseline to see if you are deficient. I hope this has been helpful for you!

FDA vitamin and minerals chart
FDA guildines