The sweet potato . . . how sweet it is!
By: Leanne Ely
Sweet potatoes are amazing tubers that provide us with a tremendous amount of nutrition. And they really are delicious, to boot!
Most of us are familiar with the orange- or yellow-fleshed sweet potatoes, but if you ever manage to get your hands on the purple-fleshed variety, go ahead and get yourself some! The compounds that give them their color make them even more nutritious than their orange-fleshed counterparts.
Benefits of sweet potatoes
You may have been passing by sweet potatoes on your travels through the grocery store, likening them to the plain old white variety, but sweet potatoes are very good for us. Here are a few reasons why:
Beta-carotene. Orange-fleshed varieties are packed with beta-carotene. Our bodies convert beta-carotene into Vitamin A.
Vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for eye and skin health. It protects us against cancer, colds, infections and the flu. It’s also key to the formation of teeth and bones, and it’s essential for our reproductive systems. One cup of sweet potato provides us with 438% of our daily recommended amount of Vitamin A.
Other minerals. Besides Vitamin A, sweet potatoes are rich in vitamins C, E, B6, B5, B3 (BINGO! lol!), tryptophan, manganese, potassium, protein, folate, copper, calcium and fiber.
Antioxidants. Sweet potatoes are strong cancer fighters and they’re high in antioxidants. Purple-fleshed varieties are especially powerful as they contain peonidins and cyanidins which have powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Low in calories. Sweet potatoes are a filling food and they’re packed with nutrition, yet a one-cup serving contains only 100 calories.
How to get the most benefit from your sweet potatoes
Did you know that eating 3-5 grams of fat with your sweet potato will help your body to get in more of the benefits from its beta-carotene? This is as easy as putting a drizzle of ghee or extra virgin olive oil in your mashed sweet potato.
Steaming and boiling are the cooking methods that will allow your sweet potatoes to retain most of their nutrients. Studies have shown that sweet potatoes end up at the lower end of the glycemic index when they’re boiled than when they’re baked or roasted. Slice your sweet potato into 1/2 inch slices and steam them for 7 minutes. Add some ghee or olive oil and a dash of cinnamon for a delicious side dish or just a sweet afternoon snack.
Hmmm . . . could anyone else go for a sweet potato right now?