Sustainability made simple

Sweet Potato vs. Russet Potato: Which Is Best?

sweet potato vs russet potato
Foto: CC0 Public Domain / Pexels / Jorge Romero / Polina Tankilevitch

At first glance, russet potatoes and sweet potatoes could been seen as one and the same, but there are some vital differences between the two. Here we look at sweet potatoes vs russet potatoes.

When comparing sweet potatoes vs russet potatoes, you’ll find that they’re both packed full of healthy vitamins, carbs and minerals. They are healthy staples for virtually any type of dish, but there are some differences between the two that you might want to consider when looking at your own particular dietary needs. In either case, if cooked, fried, or baked without the added butter, cheese or cream, both russet and sweet potatoes are a good addition to any diet.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes often have a richer outer skin.
Sweet potatoes often have a richer outer skin.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / auntmasako)

The truth about sweet potatoes is that they’re not technically potatoes. They are so called ‘sweet roots’ and are part of the morning glory plant family. Although Native Americans were growing sweet potatoes when Columbus came to America in 1492, these veggies grew in Peru as early as 750 B.C. There are hundreds of types of sweet potatoes – some have white or cream-colored flesh, while others are yellow, red, and purple. The Covington’ is the variety you’re most likely to encounter at the store – it is instantly recognizable thanks to its pink skin and bright orange pulp.

Vitamins and Minerals

Just one sweet potato gives you all of your daily vitamin A. This vitamin helps keep your eyes healthy along with your immune system. Vitamin A is also good for your reproductive system, heart, and kidneys.

Along with vitamin A, sweet potatoes are rich in:

  • B vitamins
  • Vitamin C
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Thiamin
  • Zinc

Natural compounds called carotenoids, like beta-carotene give sweet potatoes their rich color. Carotenoids are also antioxidants, which means they have the power to protect your cells from day-to-day damage.

How Are They Grown?

When comparing sweet potatoes vs russet potatoes, both have a fairly low water and carbon footprint. Overall environmental destruction is low, making sweet potato crops relatively sustainable. So far there is no observable damage done to air, water, land, soil or forests. But of course this only applies where harsh chemical pesticides have not been used. At the store always opt for non-GMO and organic sweet potato products to ensure you are getting the best, safest, and most sustainable product.

Can You Eat The Skin?

Sweet potato skins are safe to eat and can be easily added to most recipes. They’re rich in fiber, vitamins and antioxidants that can help support over all health. If you’re looking to get the most nutrition out of your sweet potato, keep the peel on. Try the following sweet potato recipes:

Russet Potatoes

When comparing sweet potatoes vs russet potatoes, there isn't a clear winner.
When comparing sweet potatoes vs russet potatoes, there isn’t a clear winner.
(Foto: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash / Eric Prouzet )

Potatoes have a bad reputation for being a carb heavy vegetable, but they are also loaded with nutrients like potassium and magnesium. When compared to other staples such as rice and pasta, potatoes are still much lower in calories, provided you leave off the butter, sour cream, bacon bits, and grated cheese, of course.

Vitamins & Minerals

Potatoes offer plenty of beneficial protein, ideal to overall health, along with a potassium punch that is much greater than what you would find in bananas, or any other fruit or vegetable for that matter.

Along with magnesium, russet potatoes also have:

  • Calcium 
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B6
  • Folate
  • Potassium
  • Manganese
  • Phosphorus
  • Niacin

How Are They Grown?

Environmental destruction is low during potato production, making them relatively sustainable. There is no known significant damage to air, water, land, soil, or forests as long as pesticides have not been used. For your won peace of mind, always endeavor to buy non-GMO, organic, and locally cultivated potatoes, since these are guaranteed to have not been exposed to toxic chemical pesticides which will contaminate the surrounding environment and can pose a serious health risk if consumed. 

Can You Eat The Skin?

Eating the skin will ensure you get all the nutrients russet potatoes contain. The potato skin has more nutrients than the interior of the potato as well as lots of fiber – about half of a medium potato’s fiber is actually in the skin.

Russet potatoes are great for classic mashed potatoes – you can try making mashed potatoes with skins or vegan mashed potatoes. If you have leftovers, there are plenty of ways to use leftover mashed potatoes. For those who like to peel their spuds, turn the skins into potato peel chips

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