Sweet potatoes are another super food that is becoming more common to eat other than at Thanksgiving and holidays. They are a healthier choice than white potatoes and just as versatile.
Why then should one choose a sweet potato over a white potato? Sitting at 7 grams of fiber per serving, sweet potatoes contain two times more fiber than white potatoes. This high fiber allows them to be digested slower keeping blood sugar from spiking and its energy they provide used more efficiently.
Sweet potatoes have a large amount of vitamin B6 which can help prevent hardening of the arteries. Vitamin B6 also helps to keep the walls of the blood vessels flexible. They are high in potassium which helps lower blood pressure by regulating the fluid balance of the body. Potassium also helps to keep the normal rhythm of the heart regular and supports the normal function of the brain and nervous system.
Vitamin A is also found in abundance in sweet potatoes. Vitamin A, or beta-carotene, is an antioxidant which helps reduce cell damage and death. Vitamin A is good for the eyes and may help prevent vision loss.
Most of us know that vitamin C helps boost our immune system warding off colds and other viruses. Vitamin C also helps with the formation of bones and teeth as well as help to aid in digestion and the formation of blood cells. Vitamin C also helps with the healing of wounds and helps to keep our skin maintain its elasticity.
Sweet potatoes contain vitamin D. Vitamin D is made in our bodies as a result of being in the sunlight. This vitamin is important in helping with moods, helps build healthy and strong bones and teeth. Our heart, nerves and skin also benefit from vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency is becoming a common occurrence partly due to sunblock products and sedentary lifestyles.
Manganese is another mineral that is found in sweet potatoes. This trace mineral helps metabolize carbohydrates which helps stabilize blood sugars. When blood sugars are stable, appetite is also stable so satisfaction from hunger lasts longer.
Magnesium is also present in sweet potatoes. This mineral is valuable in helping to reduce stress and increase relaxation. Our arteries, blood, bones, heart, muscles and nerve function also benefit from magnesium.
Almost anything goes with this super food. Sweet potatoes can be prepared in almost the same way in which you would prepare a white potato.
- Mash some sweet potatoes and mix in a little olive oil
- Bake them then add a little cinnamon, nutmeg or cardamom
- Sweet potato fries are in. Cut potatoes in wedges. Lightly coat in olive oil and add your favorite herbs. Rosemary or cumin or paprika. Bake at 425 degrees until tender.
This is one of my favorite recipes for sweet potatoes. The sugar-free syrup makes this dish diabetic friendly.
Maple-Roasted Sweet Potatoes
2 ½ pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 to 1 ½ inch pieces
1/3 cup sugar-free maple syrup
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste if desired
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place cubed potatoes in a 9×13 inch glass baking dish. In small bowl combine the maple syrup, butter, lemon juice, salt and pepper if used. Pour over sweet potatoes. Cover and bake for about 15 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake until tender approximately 45-50 minutes. Serves 12.
Serving size ½ cup
Fat 2 grams
Carbohydrates about 15 grams
2 grams fiber
1 gram protein
Adapted from www.eatingwell.com.