Chemical constituents and health effects of sweet potato

Food Res Int. 2016 Nov;89(Pt 1):90-116. doi: 10.1016/j.foodres.2016.08.032. Epub 2016 Aug 27.


Sweet potatoes are becoming a research focus in recent years due to their unique nutritional and functional properties. Bioactive carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, carotenoids, anthocyanins, conjugated phenolic acids, and minerals represent versatile nutrients in different parts (tubers, leaves, stems, and stalks) of sweet potato. The unique composition of sweet potato contributes to their various health benefits, such as antioxidative, hepatoprotective, antiinflammatory, antitumor, antidiabetic, antimicrobial, antiobesity, antiaging effects. Factors affecting the nutritional composition and bio-functions of sweet potato include the varieties, plant parts, extraction time and solvents, postharvest storage, and processing. The assays for bio-function evaluation also contribute to the variations among different studies. This review summarizes the current knowledge of the chemical composition of sweet potato, and their bio-functions studied in vitro and in vivo. Leaves, stems, and stalks of sweet potato remain much underutilized on commercial levels. Sweet potato can be further developed as a sustainable crop for diverse nutritionally enhanced and value-added food products to promote human health.

Keywords: Chemical composition; Functional food; Health effect; Polyphenol; Sweet potato.

Publication types

  • Review