Researchers document the nutrient content, phytochemical properties of sweet potato flour
04/16/2019 // Michelle Simmons // Views

Flours made from Vietnamese purple sweet potato may be a great alternative to white flours. A new study looked at the phytochemical and nutrient content of flours made from Vietnamese purple sweet potato and found that they are a good source of anthocyanins and phenolic compounds.

Researchers at Naresuan University in Thailand and Nong Lam University in Vietnam looked at the effects of thermal processes on bioactive compounds and properties of flour made from purple sweet potato in Vietnam called "Nhat tim." They tested the Vietnamese purple sweet potato using different processing techniques, such as hot air drying, freeze drying, microwave vacuum drying, drum drying, and extrusion cooking.

The results of the study showed that flour made from the Vietnamese purple sweet potato is a good source of anthocyanins like cyanidin and peonidin. It is also a good source of phenolic compounds like chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, ferulic acid, and p?Hydroxybenzoic acid.

Out of all the processing techniques, vacuum drying process produced flours with the highest cyanidin, peonidin, and antioxidant activity. Hot air drying technique preserved the highest chlorogenic acid content, while freeze-drying technique produced flours with the highest p?Hydroxybenzoic acid content. Overall, the vacuum drying process was found to be the most efficient process for producing purple sweet potato flour because it retained the most anthocyanins and phenolic compounds with the highest antioxidant activity.

From these findings, the researchers concluded that flours made from Vietnamese purple sweet potato can be used in various health food products, such as bakeries, beverages, confectioneries, desserts, noodles, snacks, and soups. The findings of the study were published in the Journal of Food Processing and Preservation.


Sweet potato and its other health benefits

Sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) are starchy, sweet-tasting root vegetables that come in various colors ranging from dark red to brown to purple to orange-yellow to white. They also vary in tastes, sizes, shapes, and textures. Sweet potatoes offer the following health benefits:

  • Provide you many nutrients: Sweet potatoes are highly nutritious. They are a great source of fiber as well as B vitamins, vitamin C, and minerals like iron, calcium, and selenium. These root vegetables are also loaded with antioxidants, particularly in an antioxidant called beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A once consumed. Purple sweet potatoes are also rich in an antioxidant known as anthocyanin. (Related: Sweet potatoes are nutrient-dense foods with high amounts of beta-carotene.)
  • Support your gut health: Sweet potatoes are good for the gut because of their fiber and antioxidants. These promote the growth of good gut bacteria. Research has also shown that they promote a healthy digestive system because of their high phytosterol content. This may be helpful in preventing and managing duodenal and gastric ulcers.
  • Ward off cancer: The anthocyanins found in purple sweet potatoes may help protect against certain types of cancer, such as bladder, colon, stomach, and breast. Studies have shown that these antioxidants may help fight free radicals, thereby reducing cancer risk.
  • Keep your eyes healthy: Eating sweet potatoes, particularly purple varieties, may be good for your eyes. According to studies, this benefit may be attributed to their beta-carotene and anthocyanins. These antioxidants may help prevent vision loss and enhance eye health.
  • Improve your brain function: Adding purple sweet potatoes to your diet may also boost your brain function. This may be due to their anthocyanins that reduce inflammation and prevent free radical damage.
  • Strengthen your immune system: Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body. This vitamin is essential in keeping the immune system and gut healthy. Sweet potatoes are also rich in vitamin C, which also contributes to boosting immunity.

Read more news stories and studies on the health benefits of sweet potatoes by going to

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