Can You Eat Sweet Potato Skin?

Thanks to their delightful flavor and remarkable nutritional profile, sweet potatoes have become a popular ingredient in the culinary world.

Can you eat sweet potato skin? The answer is yes, you can eat sweet potato skin. Research shows that sweet potato skin is more nutritious than the flesh.

This article intends to shed light on the topic by investigating the edibility and prospective health benefits of sweet potato skin.

Debunking the Myths

Myth 1: Sweet Potato Skin is Toxic or Harmful to Consume

People often think that the skin of a sweet potato is poisonous or bad for you, so they throw it away when they cook sweet potatoes. But this idea is not true and there is no scientific evidence to back it up. In fact, sweet potato skin is safe to eat and can even be good for your health in a number of ways.

Myth 2:  Sweet Potato Skin is Too Tough or Fibrous to Eat

The skin of a sweet potato is also thought to be too tough or dense to enjoy eating. Even though the skin of a sweet potato can feel a little different than the flesh, it is not inedible or unpleasant in any way.

Nutrition in 146 g of sweet potato containing skin [20]

Carbs30 grams
Protein3 grams
Fiber5 grams
Provitamin A154% of the DV
Vitamin C31% of the DV
Potassium15% of the DV
nutrition composition in sweet potato skin

10 Benefits of Eating Sweet Potato Skin

Here are ten reasons why incorporating sweet potato skin into your diet is an intelligent and nutritious choice.

1. Enhanced Fiber Intake

Sweet potato skin is an abundant source of dietary fiber, which plays a vital role in maintaining a healthy digestive system. By consuming sweet potato skin, you increase your fiber consumption, thereby facilitating digestion, encouraging regular bowel movements, and promoting overall gut health.

In a study of the high-fiber and antioxidant-rich biscuit produced from purple and orange sweet potato skin, researchers found that there was a significant increase in fiber when sweet potato peel was increased from 2 to 2.3 g/100 g. [1]

2. Increased Nutrient Content

The skin of sweet potatoes contains a variety of vitamins and minerals that contribute to daily nutrient requirements. By consuming the peel, you increase your consumption of nutrients such as potassium, iron, vitamin C, and beta-carotene, thereby enhancing your nutritional profile.

Studies have shown that you are losing nutrients by peeling off the skin of fruits and vegetables. [2, 3]

On comparing peeled, unpeeled and skin only of sweet potato, it was found that higher content of protein, moisture and ash were observed in skin only of sweet compared to other two. [4]

This same study also reported that the highest fiber and carbohydrate were found in sweet potato cooked with skin. [5] Also, the dry matter was highest in the skin only of sweet potato. [5] The fat content was lowest in the skin only of sweet potato compared to with skin and without skin sweet potato. [5]

Antioxidant Powerhouse

The skin of sweet potatoes is rich in antioxidants, which protect the body from free radical damage and oxidative stress. Antioxidants in the sweet potato skin, such as anthocyanins and polyphenols, have been linked to a variety of health benefits, such as reduced inflammation and a reduced risk of chronic diseases.

In a recent study, scientists found that the antioxidant in sweet potato was three times higher than the rest parts of sweet potato. [6]

Another study on sweet potato demonstrates that all parts of sweet potato including skin has important antioxidants. [7]

Anthocyanin derived compound like peonidins and cyaidins are responsibe for antioxidants in purple sweet potato and studies have found that these compounds are mostly found in peel of sweet potato. [8,9]

Another study mentioned that peel of fruits and vegetable contains 25 times more phenolic contain and antioxidants than the flesh. [10]

Potential Cancer-Fighting Properties

According to a number of studies, the compounds present in the skin of sweet potatoes may possess anti-cancer properties. Antioxidants and phytochemicals present in the skin have been linked to inhibiting the proliferation of cancer cells and reducing the risk of certain cancers, including colon and breast cancer.

In a scientific study on cancer preventive property of sweet potato on mouse, researcher observed that supplying purple sweet potato skin rich in anthocyanin to mouse resulted in decrease in adenoma polyp number in small intestine and also protection against colorectal cancer was observed. [11]

Blood Sugar Regulation

The dietary fiber in sweet potato skin assists in blood sugar regulation. The fiber delays the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, thereby preventing spikes and drops in blood sugar levels.

Also, the glycemic index of sweet potato skin is as low as the raw sweet potato. [12] This makes sweet potato skin a beneficial addition to a balanced diet for individuals with diabetes or those attempting to manage their blood sugar levels.

Weight Management

Incorporating sweet potato skin into your diet can aid in weight loss endeavors. Additionally, the low calorie and fat content of sweet potato skin makes it a nutritious and gratifying option for weight-conscious individuals. [13]

Skin Health

The antioxidants found in sweet potato skin can enhance skin health and combat the effects of aging. The antioxidants protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals, resulting in a more radiant and youthful complexion. In addition, the skin’s vitamin C content promotes collagen synthesis, thereby enhancing skin elasticity and diminishing the appearance of wrinkles. [16]

Eye Health

The skin of sweet potatoes, especially orange-fleshed varieties, contains high concentrations of beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is essential for sustaining healthy eyesight and may help prevent age-related macular degeneration and night blindness. [17]

Heart Health

Sweet potato skin is beneficial to cardiac health due to its fiber and potassium content. [14, 15] Dietary fiber helps reduce cholesterol levels, whereas potassium promotes healthy blood pressure. By including sweet potato skin in your diet, you can improve cardiovascular health and lower your risk of heart disease.

Environmental Sustainability

Adopting the skin of sweet potatoes as a consumable component of the vegetable promotes sustainability. Utilizing the skin reduces food waste and maximizes the nutritional value of sweet potatoes, thereby contributing to a more sustainable approach to food consumption.

Don’t neglect to consume the nutritious skin of sweet potatoes the next time you prepare them.

Preparing Sweet Potato Skin for Consumption

Here are some tips and different ways to cook sweet potato skin so you can enjoy it:

Selecting and Cleaning Sweet Potatoes

  • Choose sweet potatoes with smooth, hard skins that don’t have any spots, mold, or sprouts.
  • Choose organic sweet potatoes to avoid toxins as much as possible.
  • Before you cook them, scrub them well with a vegetable brush under running water to get rid of any dirt. This step is very important, especially if you are going to eat the skin.

Techniques for Peeling or Not Peeling Sweet Potatoes

If you want to peel sweet potatoes before cooking, you can use a vegetable peeler or a sharp knife. This is easy to do by holding the sweet potato tightly and sliding the peeler or knife along the length of the potato.

Creative Cooking Methods

#1 Bake sweet potatoes

After baking whole sweet potatoes, cut them in half lengthwise and stuff them with things like black beans, avocado, salsa, and cheese. The texture difference between the soft meat and the slightly chewy skin is delicious.

Baked Japanese sweet potato with skin.

#2 Sweet Potato Fries with Skin

Sweet potato fries withs skin are delicious and one of my favorites. The taste gets even better if you use Japanese sweet potato.

sweet potato fries with skin

Potential Risks and Precautions While Eating Sweet Potato Skin

Even though sweet potatoes are usually safe and good for you, there are a few risks and things to watch out for, especially for people with certain health conditions. Here are some things to think about:

Allergies and Sensitivities

Even though it is uncommon, some people may be allergic to or sensitive to sweet potatoes. Symptoms can be as mild as itching or hives or as serious as trouble breathing or anaphylactic. If you know you’re allergic to sweet potatoes or foods that are similar to them, you should never eat sweet potato skin or any other sweet potato product.

Pesticide Use and Organic Sweet Potatoes

During conventional farming, chemicals may be used on sweet potatoes to protect them from pests and diseases. If you’re worried about being exposed to pesticides, choose organic sweet potatoes, which are grown without chemical poisons. By choosing organic, you can reduce the risks that may be caused by chemical residues.

Moderation and Portion Control

Most people think of sweet potatoes as a healthy food. People with diabetes or heart problems, on the other hand, shouldn’t eat too many sweet potatoes and should watch how much they eat. People with diabetes can have their blood sugar levels affected by the carbs in sweet potatoes.

Talking to a doctor or trained dietitian can help you figure out how many servings and how often you should eat sweet potatoes based on your health needs.

Also, sweet potatoes contain oxalates, which can cause kidney stones in people who are more likely to get them. If you have had kidney stones in the past or are at risk of getting them, you should limit how many sweet potatoes you eat and think about any other food restrictions or suggestions a doctor gives you.

FAQ About Sweet Potato Skin

Can you eat the skin of all sweet potato varieties?

Yes, the skin of all kinds of sweet potatoes can be eaten. Keep in mind, though, that the texture and flavor of the skin can be a little different between different verities. Some may have skin that is thinner and more tender, while others may have skin that is a little bit harder. No matter what kind of sweet potato it is, as long as it is healthy and clean, the skin can be eaten.

Can I use sweet potato skin in desserts?

While sweet potato skin is not commonly used in desserts, it can be utilized creatively. For example, you can incorporate finely grated sweet potato skin into certain cake or muffin recipes to add moisture and subtle flavor. However, keep in mind that the skin may alter the texture and appearance of the final product, so experimentation and recipe adjustments may be necessary.

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Is sweet potato good for diabetes?

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