Sweet potatoes are highly nutritious and pair well with many meals.
However, their peel rarely makes it to the dinner table, though some argue that it should be eaten due to its nutrient content and unique flavor.
This article explains everything you need to know about eating sweet potato skin.
Health benefits of sweet potato skin
Sweet potato skin is edible, and you may miss out on some health benefits if you toss it.
Sweet potato skin is packed with nutrients
Sweet potato skins are very nutritious.
A medium (146 gram) sweet potato with the skin on provides:
- Calories: 130
- Carbs: 30 grams
- Protein: 3 grams
- Fiber: 5 grams
- Provitamin A: 154% of the daily value
- Vitamin C: 31% of the daily value
- Potassium: 15% of the daily value
The fiber content of sweet potatoes mainly comes from the peel. Therefore, removing it will decrease your fiber intake.
Research has shown that the nutrients in vegetables and fruits tend to be concentrated around the peel. Thus, removing the peel can reduce your intake of nutrients and antioxidants.
High in fiber
Sweet potatoes are a good source of fiber. However, their fiber content is reduced when the peel is removed.
Fiber helps increase feelings of fullness, support a healthy gut microbiome, and manage blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Source of antioxidants
Sweet potatoes contain antioxidants, particularly beta carotene, chlorogenic acid, and vitamins C and E. Furthermore, purple sweet potatoes are high in antioxidants called anthocyanins.
These antioxidants help prevent cellular damage and lower the risk of chronic conditions like heart disease and cancer.
Since antioxidants tend to be concentrated in the skin and just below it, eating sweet potato skins can increase your antioxidant intake.
Summary: Sweet potato skins are rich in fiber, antioxidants, and nutrients like potassium, manganese, and vitamins A, C, and E, all of which may help improve your health.
Are there any risks when eating sweet potato skins?
Sweet potato skins are safe to eat, both raw and cooked.
However, since sweet potatoes are tubers and grow in the ground, it’s important to properly wash the outer skin to remove any excess dirt, pesticides, or debris.
To wash your sweet potato, place it under running water and scrub it with a vegetable brush. Since their skins are tough, you don’t need to worry about damaging them or the flesh.
Summary: You can eat sweet potato skins raw or cooked, though it’s essential to properly clean the outer skin with a vegetable brush to remove dirt and other residues.
How to eat sweet potato skins
Sweet potato skins can be enjoyed by themselves or along with the flesh.
Here are some delicious and easy ways to enjoy them:
- baked, boiled, or fried
- mashed with the flesh
- as fries or wedges
For most sweet potato recipes, it’s unnecessary to remove the skin. Nevertheless, certain dishes, such as desserts, are best made without the skins.
Summary: You can eat sweet potato skins alone or leave them on in most recipes, though desserts usually exclude the peel.
Sweet potato skins are safe to eat and can be easily added to most recipes.
They’re rich in fiber, other nutrients, and antioxidants that can help support a healthy gut, increase feelings of fullness, and prevent chronic disease.
Keep the peel on if you want the most nutrition out of your sweet potato.