Sweet potatoes are a staple food in many cultures, and rightfully so. They’re inexpensive, nutritious, and taste great. But did you know that their leaves are also edible? And not only that, they’re actually quite nutritious! Read on for 7 benefits of sweet potato leaves, as well as tips on how to prepare them.

Nutritional Value of Sweet Potato Leaves

100 grams of steamed sweet potato leaves contain:

  • Calories: 35.0
  • Carbs: 22.7 g
  • Protein: 4.0 g
  • Fat: 0.3 g
  • Fiber: 2.0 g
  • Vitamin A: 1028 IU, or 21% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Vitamin K: 69.5 mcg, or 87% of the DV (when cooked)
  • Vitamin C: 11.0 mg, or 18% of the DV
  • Magnesium: 61.0 mg, or 15% of the DV
  • Riboflavin: 0.3 mg, or 20% of the DV
  • Potassium: 518 mg, or 15% of the DV
  • Folate: 80.0 mcg, or 20% of the DV
  • Manganese: 0.3 mg, or 13% of the DV
  • Vitamin B6: 0.2 mg, or 9% of the DV
  • Thiamine: 0.2 mg, or 10% of the DV
  • Iron: 1.0 mg, or 6% of the DV
  • Calcium: 37.0 mg, or 4% of the DV

Sweet potato leaves are also a good source of chlorophyll and antioxidants, including lutein, beta-carotene, and other beneficial phytonutrients.

Benefits of Sweet Potato Leaves

1. Boosting Immunity

A strong immune system means fewer sick days, quicker recoveries, and improved overall health. It also means reduced stress levels and enhanced mental health. 

A strong immune system is important because it helps the body fight infection and disease.

The immune system works to identify these foreign invaders and destroy them before they can cause harm. 

There are many different ways to strengthen the immune system. Some include getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, reducing stress levels, and eating immune-boosting foods like sweet potato leaves.

Sweet potato leaves are an excellent source of beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the body. 

Vitamin A is essential for a healthy immune system. It helps to protect against infections by increasing the production of antibodies and white blood cells, which help fight against infections. 

Sweet potato leaves are also a good source of vitamin C, another nutrient that has also been shown to stimulate the production of white blood cells, helping you fight off any invader. 

Green sweet potato leaves in growth at garden

2. Promotes healthy digestion

There are many reasons why having healthy digestion is important. For one, it helps your body absorb the nutrients from the food you eat. It also helps to get rid of wastes and toxins from your body.

Additionally, healthy digestion can help prevent common health problems, such as constipation and diarrhea. 

Finally, having a healthy digestion can help improve your mood and energy levels.

Sweet potato leaves are an excellent source of dietary fiber, which is important for promoting healthy digestion. Fiber helps to keep the digestive system clean and functioning properly by sweeping away toxins and waste products. 

Additionally, the fiber helps to prevent constipation, promote regularity and maintain a healthy gut flora.

3. Lowers cholesterol

High cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and other serious health conditions. 

If you have high cholesterol, it’s important to take steps to lower it, and eating foods like sweet potato leaves can help you achieve this goal.

These leaves contain a type of soluble fiber known as pectin, which has been shown to help lower cholesterol levels.

Pectin works by binding to cholesterol in the intestine and preventing its absorption into the bloodstream.

In addition, sweet potato leaves are a good source of antioxidants which can also help reduce cholesterol levels.

4. Regulating Blood Sugar

Sweet potatoes themselves are a low-glycemic food, meaning they don’t cause a sharp spike in blood sugar levels when consumed. 

However, their leaves have an even lower glycemic index, making them an excellent choice for people with diabetes or prediabetes.

This is because sweet potato leaves are an excellent source of dietary fiber, which helps regulate blood sugar levels by slowing down the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream.

5. Reducing Inflammation

Inflammation is a necessary and beneficial process that helps the body heal from injury and fight infection. 

However, when inflammation becomes chronic, it can lead to a number of serious health problems. 

In fact, chronic inflammation has been linked to heart disease, stroke, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and other degenerative diseases.

Eating the leafy parts of sweet potatoes may help lower the level of inflammation in the body.

Sweet potato leaves are packed with nutrients that have anti-inflammatory properties. These include vitamins A and C, as well as carotenoids and flavonoids. 

In addition, sweet potato leaves contain high levels of chlorophyll. This pigment has been shown to fight inflammation by neutralizing free radicals.

6. Promotes a healthy cardiovascular system

One of the benefits of sweet potato leaves is that they can help promote a healthy cardiovascular system. 

Sweet potato leaves are a good source of fiber, which can help to lower cholesterol levels and keep the arteries clear. 

They also contain antioxidants, which can help to protect the heart and blood vessels from damage. 

In addition, sweet potato leaves contain vitamins A and C, all of which are important for maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system.

7. Promote eye health

Sweet potato leaves contain high levels of beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is essential for eye health, as it helps to prevent night blindness and other vision problems.

Sweet potato leaves also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that are known to promote eye health. Lutein and zeaxanthin help filter out harmful blue light and protect the retina from damage.

Can You Eat Raw Sweet Potato Leaves?

Sweet potato greens can be eaten raw or cooked, and are a great way to add extra nutrients to your diet.

They can make a crunchy and flavorful addition to salads or wraps. They can also be chopped up and added to smoothies or juices for an extra nutrient boost. 

However, when eaten raw, they have a slightly bitter taste that some people may not enjoy. If you’re not a fan of the bitter taste, you can cook them lightly to help mellow it out.

Tasty stir-fried sweet potato leaves on a plate

How to Cook Sweet Potato Leaves?

If you’re looking for a delicious and nutritious way to cook sweet potato leaves, look no further! 

Here are some tips on how to cook sweet potato leaves

Sauteed sweet potato greens

  • Rinse the leaves thoroughly under running water to remove any dirt or debris
  • Remove any tough stems or veins
  • Chop the leaves into bite-sized pieces.
  • In a large pot or wok, stir-fry the leaves with oil over high heat for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add your chosen seasonings (garlic, ginger, soy sauce, etc.) and continue stir-frying for another minute or two.
  • Serve immediately with rice or noodles. Enjoy!

Boiled sweet potato greens

Boiled sweet potato leaves are a traditional dish in many parts of the world, and they can be a delicious and healthy addition to your diet. Besides, they can be easy on your digestion.

To prepare them, simply wash the leaves and then boil them in water for 5-10 minutes. Sweet potato leaves can be enjoyed as is with a little bit of salt and pepper, or you can add them to other dishes like soups.

Steamed sweet potato leaves

The best way to enjoy sweet potato leaves is to steam them. This allows the leaves to retain their nutrients while still being tender and flavorful. 

Simply wash the leaves and then place them in a steamer basket over boiling water. 

Cover the pot and steam for 5-7 minutes or until the leaves are wilted and soft. Enjoy them as is, or use them as a base for a healthy stir-fry or soup.

Baked sweet potato greens

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spread sweet potato leaves on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil or melted butter and sea salt. Bake for 5-10 minutes until tender and lightly browned around the edges. 

Enjoy as is or top with shredded cheese, diced tomatoes, or other desired toppings.

Sweet Potato Leaves Side Effects

While sweet potato leaves are generally safe for most people to consume, there are a few potential side effects you should be aware of, such as digestive issues.

Sweet potato greens may cause digestive upset in some people, including diarrhea and stomach cramps. If you experience these symptoms after eating sweet potato greens, try avoiding them in the future or eat them in moderation.

Sweet potato leaves also contain oxalates, which can bind to calcium and other minerals in the body and lead to kidney stones or other health problems. If you have a history of kidney stones or other calcium-related disorders, talk to your doctor before including sweet potato leaves in your diet.

Drug interactions: Sweet potato greens can interact with certain medications, including blood thinners. If you take these medications, it’s important to talk to your doctor before eating sweet potato leaves to ensure no potential interactions.

Final Thoughts

Sweet potato greens are not a vegetable you can often find on a dinner table but if you are looking for a nutritious vegetable to add to your diet, sweet potato leaves may be a good option.

They are packed with vitamins and minerals and offer a range of health benefits.

Besides, they are easy to prepare and incorporate into the diet. They can be eaten cooked or raw, and make a great addition to salads and stir-fries.

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