Sweet potatoes are one of my absolute favorite foods. I rarely go to the grocery store without picking a few up to have on hand for a quick lunch, side dish or healthy snack throughout the week; but it hasn’t always been that way. Only in recent years have I let the sweet, orange variety reign supreme in my heart over traditional white potatoes. But since making the switch I’ve reaped some serious health benefits, and not to mention satisfied my sweet tooth.
Health benefits: Sweet potatoes are loaded with essential vitamins and minerals like vitamins C, B6 and D, which help promote overall health, prevent such serious health risks as heart attacks and bone decay, and also ensure proper immune system function.
They’re also high in fiber, which helps promote proper digestion and the body’s ability to maintain a healthy weight. A lesser known health benefit of sweet potatoes is that they are loaded with iron, which is essential for white blood cell production, stress management, optimum immune health and the metabolizing of protein. They’re also a great source of magnesium, potassium, and carotenoids like beta carotene, which help strengthen eyesight, boost immunity to disease and even ward off cancer.
Nutritional statistics: One cup of cooked sweet potato with skin contains approximately 180 calories, 0 g fat, 41 g carbohydrates, 7 grams fiber, 13 grams sugar and 4 grams of protein.
Cooking methods: Sweet potatoes are extremely versatile in that they can be prepared a number of ways without losing their rich, sweet flavor. Try them puréed or steamed as a side dish, baked and topped with almond butter or chili as a hearty entree, or grated and sauteed as morning hash browns. Another personal favorite is in baked like muffins and pies, or even pureed and mixed into oatmeal. You can also add them to soups, stews and salads. Check out these delicious and heart-healthy recipes below for just a few out-of-the-box ways to start trying sweet potatoes today.
With the holidays right around the corner, don’t forget to utilize sweet potatoes as a star ingredient in your family’s favorite meals. My personal top picks are the sweet potato fries and the molasses whipped sweet potatoes. The holidays have never tasted so sweet or healthy.
December 16th, 2012