By the time you read this, some of you will still be munching on Thanksgiving leftovers. But I wanted to take a quick look at one of the items on most people’s holiday plates: the sweet potato. Now, most of us are going to have it with all kinds of sweet treatments such as brown sugar, butter, or marshmallow, but if you can stand just adding a wee bit of butter or butter substitute, you are not only in for a treat, but a sweet nutritional surprise.
Maybe the most amazing thing about the sweet potato is how highly regarded it is by health professionals. In fact, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) ranked the sweet potato the most nutritious vegetable of all.
The sweet potato took first place due to its dietary fiber, naturally occurring sugars, complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins A and C, iron and calcium. They have a ton of carotenoid pigments (beta carotene), on top of being rich in the aforementioned nutrients. Not to mention, the average sweet potato only has about 100 calories.
Sweet potatoes have five times the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A, which helps protect you against heart attack and stroke, among other health benefits. Potassium helps maintain fluid and electrolyte balance in your body’s cells. It also helps maintain normal heart function and blood pressure.
So, next time you’re looking for a starch to include in your meal, or even a dessert-like snack, consider a sweet potato!
December 2nd, 2010