It's safe to say that the potato and its sweeter counterpart have gotten a bad rap. We tend to prefer our potatoes fried and our sweet potatoes buried under a layer of marshmallows. But in their purest forms, what benefits do these spuds provide? We've joined forces with Naked Juice to determine just what superpowers our favorite veggies possess. Good news: potatoes and sweet potatoes bring more to the table than we give them credit for.
It's no surprise that the white potato and the sweet potato are nearly identical in calorie, fat, carbohydrate and protein content. A medium size of either potato is relatively low in calories, fat free and packs a hearty dose of protein. While both contain more carbs than most other veggies, a 100-gram serving of either type of potato is still only about 7% of the daily recommended carbohydrate value.
That said, the sweet potato has higher levels of sodium and, you guessed it, natural sugars than the white potato, but it also offers a third benefit: fiber. Opt for sweet potatoes to feel full longer, but reach for white potatoes if you need to cut back on sodium or sugar.
The Nitty Gritty
The real difference between these veggies is in their vitamin and mineral content. We'll begin with the white potato. This spud offers higher levels of folate, a B vitamin that boosts brain and heart health. It also beats out the sweet potato in the phosphorus department, which keeps bones strong.
In the other corner, we have the sweet potato. With up to half of your daily value of vitamin C and an outrageous amount of vitamin A, sweet potatoes strengthen the immune system to help you keep kicking butt during flu season.
Individualities aside, both potatoes are packed with nutrients that your body thrives on (potassium, magnesium and iron, oh my!).
So, which spud is the better stud? Certainly the sweet potato's disease-fighting vitamins come in handy this time of year. But hey, strong bones and a healthy heart are important too. The truth is, both vegetables pack a serious punch in their own nutritious ways, so get a dose of each! A steak and potato dinner one night and fish with sweet potatoes the next will give your body the well-rounded nutrients it needs to conquer the world.
As with any veggie, what you get out of your potatoes, both white and sweet, depends largely on how you prepare them. Frying your potatoes is not the healthiest technique, and a bag of potato chips does not constitute as a serving of vegetables. Roasting potatoes in the oven with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper is a no-fail, versatile preparation method. For added nutrients, roast some of your other favorite root vegetables alongside the spuds. If you must have your fries, bake them, too! Here's another healthy tip: leave the skin on. Not only does it contain fiber, it also helps the potato retain its nutrients while being cooked.
Eating Potatoes: Beyond The Fry
Jazz up your basic baked potato by going to the sweet side and adding ingredients like black beans and low fat yogurt for a southwestern-style side. For a cold winter night, use orange spuds in a sweet and spicy chili. And since we cannot forget about dessert, sweet potatoes make a delicious (and nutritious) sugar replacement option in brownies or pudding! The options are endless, so start cookin'!
For more ways to make your favorite Superfoods even more super, check out our recipe hub.