Healthy Satisfying Sweet Potatoes

By November 14, 2014 Nutrition Information
sweet potatoI love sweet potatoes.   Since I eat a mostly Vegetable-Paleo type of diet I rarely eat grains. When I need some type of carbohydrate I cook up a batch of sweet potatoes.  I eat them all year long not just around Thanksgiving. My favorite recipe is Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Smoked Paprika.  I make it at least twice a week.  Let me tell you the unique attributes of this amazing food.
These naturally sweet root vegetables are high in antioxidants and are anti-inflammatory.   The reason sweet potatoes are considered healthier than white potatoes is their color, which indicates the presence of potent antioxidants.
While you can buy sweet potatoes year round they are in season November and December here in the US.  They tend to be sweeter and more moist this time of year.
Yams are cousins of the sweet potato, from a different plant family.  Sweet potatoes have more nutrients so choose them instead of the yams.  Yams also tend to be dryer and more starchy.

Other Nutrients In Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes contain almost twice as much fiber as white potatoes.  The fiber makes you feel full.  Fiber allows their sugars to be burned slowly preventing any blood sugar spikes.   Fiber is also beneficial for carrying toxins and cholesterol out of your body.
Sweet potatoes contain Vitamin E & C,which contribute to glowing skin and hair. They are a “beauty food”.  Vitamin E and C are potent antioxidant vitamins that play a roll in disease prevention and longevity.
High in vitamin B6 which is crucial in breaking down homosysteine, which contributes to hardening of the arteries and blood vessels.  Vitamin B6 keeps the walls of these passages flexible which enables the blood to flow freely.
Sweet potatoes are a great source of the mineral Maganese.  It is a component in the metabolism of carbohydrates which helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels.  This keeps your appetite stable for hours rather than the short term satisfaction that comes from other carbohydrates. 

Significance of The Orange In Sweet Potatoes

The orange color of a sweet potato comes from the carotenoid beta-carotene.  Beta-carotene is an antioxidant and can help reduce the damage that occurs to our cells from oxidation, which causes you to age more quickly (oxidation in your cells is like rust on a car).  Beta-carotene also supports your immune system and your heart.
Beta-caortene gets converted to vitamin A in your body which is one of the most powerful antioxidants there is.  Vitamin A is beneficial to eye health and vision.  Taking vitamin A from a supplement can be toxic but receiving it from a food high in beta-carotene is safe due to your body’s ability to regulate it’s vitamin A production.
Vitamin A is beneficial for your skin and can help get rid of bacteria that leads to acne.  Beta-carotene also helps to internally protect your skin from sun damage by both deflecting and repairing cell damage caused by excessive UV exposure. 
sweet potato purple
If you can find purple sweet potatoes they are high in the antioxidant anthocyanin which is valuable for its anti-inflammatory benefits.  These have to be purple all the way through, not just on the skin.

How to Cook Sweet Potatoes to Get More Nutrients

The method of cooking sweet potatoes can impact the quantity and quality of the nutrients you get.
Baking a sweet potato will improve the bioavailability of beta-carotene.  Boiling them can destroy the beneficial compounds.
Once you peel them the flesh is susceptible to oxidation which may cause black spots.  It is best to cook them immediately after peeling.  If you need them to sit around for awhile place them in water.
Since beta-carotene and vitamin A are fat soluble nutrients it is best to eat them with a healthy fat.   Fat soluble nutrients require fat to be absorbed effectively in your body.
Eating the skin will add more nutrition to your plate such as fiber and potassium.  Since sweet potatoes fall under EWG clean 15 you can buy them non-organic but I would still peel them.  I have found the organic sweet potatoes taste much better.
Here are 2 recipes I enjoy.
Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Vegan Sweet Potato and Kale Gratin

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