Are Purple Sweet Potatoes Healthier Than the Orange Variety?

are purple sweet potatoes healthier
Dr. Lindsey Mcilvena, MD

In her day job, treating patients living with chronic disease, nutrition and lifestyle are not after-thoughts, they’re central to helping her patients get well. She’s also our go-to expert on plant-based diets.

The produce section of your local grocery store may be getting more colorful these days — red carrots, orange cauliflower, purple peppers, yellow tomatoes, and purple sweet potatoes. We got to wondering here at SuperfoodsRx, are the purple sweet potatoes healthier than the orange type? Let’s scour the literature.

Both varieties pack a large punch of fiber — that soluble and insoluble stuff that lowers your cholesterol, keeps you full, and helps you stay regular. Though we don’t always think of sweet potatoes as a protein powerhouse, both varieties contain about 4grams per cup; not bad! Both the purple and orange guys are also very low in fat, helping to keep you slim and trim.

Where these two differ for the most part is in their phytonutrient profile. The flesh of the orange variety is rich in beta carotene, a form of vitamin A, which among other things keeps your eye health tip top. The beta-carotene gives it its deep color. The orange type is also quite rich in vitamin C; 1.5cups provides about 50% of your daily recommended value.

The purple type sweet potato is packed with anthocyanins, which impart its own vibrant hue. This phytochemical is a potent antioxidant and shows some promising anti-cancer properties as well.

So which should you choose when you walk down the produce aisle? We believe both. Mix it up — try one variety this week, and the other the next. We can’t say that one is better for you than the other; they’re both rock stars in the nutrition world. Crowning one as victor would be as difficult as choosing between the musical geniuses of Paul McCartney versus John Lennon.

Happy eating, SuperFoodies.

Sources: Hindawi, USDA 1, USDA 2, NIH

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