Growing up I remember having sweet potatoes during the holidays, but very rarely throughout the rest of the year. Considering they are so healthy and versatile, I’m not sure exactly why we didn’t have them more often, but over the last several years this SuperFood has made a comeback and is becoming a regular at the dinner table. Since they have been lauded as a top SuperFood, I have tried to serve them to my family several times a week, here are are six reasons why you should as well:
- They are packed with antioxidants and phytonutrients, especially vitamin A (betacarotene) which help our bodies fight damaging free radicals and toxins.
- Are an excellent source of vitamin B6, B5 & B3 essential for our nervous system, and contribute to healthy skin, eyes, hair and liver.
- A good source of vitamin C & D, both critical for a healthy immune system.
- They contain iron and are a good source of magnesium, which is known as a relaxation and stress reducing mineral.
- Although they taste sweet, unlike other sugars, the natural sugars in a sweet potatoes are released slowly, helping to regulate blood sugar and maintain a balanced source of energy.
- They are inexpensive, taste great and are incredibly versatile, you can use them in anything from savory dishes to desserts.
Unlike other, more bitter vegetables, sweet potatoes are perfect for kids; they have an appealing color, are sweet and their flesh is tender. I use them in place of regular potatoes, which don’t have nearly as much nutritional value.
I make mashed potatoes to accompany grilled salmon or flounder by boiling a peeled and cubed sweet potato for 15 min, draining and mashing with some milk, butter, cinnamon and nutmeg.
You can also make healthy sweet potato fries by heating oven to 450, peeling and cutting potatoes into fries or cubes, mixing them in a bowl with canola oil and salt (you can also add some seasoning like rosemary or thyme) and bake them for about 30 minutes. If they are not crispy enough, let them broil for 5 minutes or so.
Studies have shown that in order to get the maximum nutritional value from sweet potatoes, you should cook them with a small amount of healthy fat, olive or canola oil are great choices.
Stay tuned this week for more sweet potato recipes and ideas.
sources: http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=64; http://www.care2.com/greenliving/9-reasons-to-love-sweet-potatoes.html