Spotlight: Sweet Potato

sweet-potatoes

This is a complimentary post from the Eating FIT U nutrition program that we offer in collaboration with Evolutionary Eaton. We hope you find some tasty morsels that are helpful!

I’d like to introduce your new food staple!  This is one of my primary sources of “starch” and as such has replaced all bread, pasta and any other simple carbohydrates in my diet and I bet you’ll notice a marked improvement if you try to substitute as well.

The sweet potato is a good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin B6 and Potassium, and a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Manganese among having many other health benefits.

They contain Beta Carotene which is for your eyes, magnesium that benefits your heart, as well as fiber and iron.  There are nutrients in sweet potatosthat have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects and it is also a good source of antioxidants.

One of the primary reasons we recommend sweet potatoes as one of your primary “starches” is that they help to regulate your blood sugar. With a glycemic index (GI) rating of medium, they fit into a category with other vegetables such as beets, corn, and leeks that give you a good source of energy without spiking your blood sugar.

Benefits:

  • Vision: Sweet potatoes are great for your vision because they are rich in Vitamin A.
  • Cancer fighting: Sweet potatoes are a cancer fighting food due to it’s Vitamin A and C, both powerful antioxidants that works to remove free radicals (chemicals that damage cells) in the body
  • Digestion: Sweet potatoes are a good source of fiber which promotes healthy digestion and prevents colon cancer.
  • Diabetic-friendly: Sweet potatoes are great for diabetics because they help stabilize blood sugar levels and are low on the glycemic index
  • Energizing: Sweet potatoes are a rich source of energy due to it’s supply of complex carbohydrates
  • Anti-inflammatory: Vitamins A and C are anti-inflammatory nutrients, making sweet potatoes an excellent food choice for those suffering from arthritis or asthma

Sweet potatoes are not always orange-fleshed on the inside but can also be a spectacular purple color.

It can be helpful to include some fat in your sweet potato-containing meals if you want to enjoy the full beta-carotene benefits of this root vegetable. Recent research has shown that a minimum of 3-5 grams of fat per meal significantly increases our uptake of beta-carotene from sweet potatoes, perfect considering that we are working toward making healthy fats a higher percentage of our daily intake!

How to Select and Store

Choose sweet potatoes that are firm and do not have any cracks, bruises or soft spots. Avoid those that are displayed in the refrigerated section of the produce department since cold temperature negatively alters their taste.

Sweet potatoes should be stored in a cool, dark and well-ventilated place, where they will keep fresh for up to ten days. Ideally, they should be kept out of the refrigerator in a cool, dry, dark place ideally between 50-60°F, which would fit the characteristics of a root cellar. Yet since most people don’t have root cellars, keep your sweet potatoes loose and store them in a cool, dark, and well-ventilated cupboard or even in your basement.

Pairs Well With:

apples, apricots, bacon, bananas, butter, cilantro, cinnamon, cloves, coconut, cream, garlic, ginger, honey, lemon, lime, maple syrup, nutmeg, oranges, paprika, pears, pecans, pepper, pineapple, raisins, rum, salt, sherry, sunflower seeds, thyme, vanilla, walnuts

Here are a couple of recipes for you to check out:

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Honey and Cinnamon
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/roasted-sweet-potatoes-with-honey-butter-recipe.html

Maple-Pecan Sweet Potato Mash

http://www.health.com/health/recipe/0,,10000001547042,00.html

Sweet Potato Fries

http://paleoleap.com/sweet-potato-fries/

Sweet Potato Delicousness

Purée cooked sweet potatoes with bananas, maple syrup and cinnamon. Top with chopped walnuts. The fat content of the walnuts will help you get optimal absorption of the beta-carotene in the sweet potatoes.

Click here for more info on Eating FIT U to learn how YOU can take control of your eating habits once and for all!

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