Recipes

Sweet Potatoes: One of The Healthiest Foods You Can Eat (Here’s Why!)

Ok, I know everyone and their mom has posted on sweet potato fries — I readily admit that I’m not trying to be wildly inventive here. But, I also know that there are some readers out there who haven’t heard about such wonders, and maybe even some bloggie vets that don’t know all the reasons sweet potatoes are stanking good for you. (Ok, this isn’t going to be that comprehensive, but still.) I definitely didn’t, until I researched it a few months ago. Having stockpiled an abundance of these orange ‘taters in the past week as if the apocalypse were coming tomorrow — did I mention how insanely cheap these are? –, I figured now would be a great time to make a dent in the tuber stores, and share some fun factoids while I’m at it.

This isn’t really a recipe — it’s just a method (and one that probably 80 million people have already tried, soo… Sorry for the lack of ingenuity here.)

Sweet Potato Fries

1) Chop sweet potatoes in half, again and again, until they are the about the shape and size of fries (you don’t want them too skinny though, or they’ll burn. Sad face.).
2) Spray with cooking oil, or toss in extra virgin olive oil (enough to coat) and place on a baking pan.
3) Generously douse with salt. (Or sprinkle. You know. Whatever you want.)
4) Place in an oven at about 425* (I get impatient and do 450* often, admittedly — higher chance of burning, but also higher chance for crispiness/crunch…), and once the underside browns, flip or just stir ‘em. Once they are browned to your liking, they’re done!

Fun Fact #1: Sweet potatoes are a cheap way to access major antioxidants. Usually, we tend to associate antioxidants (those cancer-fighting, cell-healing little awesomes) with really expensive, trendy things like acai, dark chocolate, red wine, and berries. Some of us know that dark leafy greens have ‘em too, but sweet potatoes tend to be (really) cheap by the pound, more satiating, and a more efficient means of assimilating these nutrients, particularly beta-carotene.

Fun Fact #2: Eating a sweet potato is basically like taking a multivitamin of amazing health power. Well, ok, maybe I’m being a little generous here. It’s almost like doing that. One small sweet potato will provide you with about 250% of Vitamin A (an antioxidant — great for eyes, immune system, bones, teeth, and more), about 30% of Vitamin C (another antioxidant, assists with healthy immune system, skin, lowers risk of stroke), another 30% or so of Manganese (a mineral that assists with vital functions in the nervous system, reproductive system, and metabolism, as well as yet another antioxidant), and a little under 15% of Copper, dietary fiber, and Vitamin B6. Not to mention it’s a decent source of Iron and Potassium.

White, starchy, nutritionally-negligible cousin, you lose. Sorry.

Fun Fact #3: Sweet potatoes are an excuse to eat fat. Seriously! Of course, I wouldn’t take this overboard, but you genuinely need to eat fat with sweet potatoes in order to assimilate all the nutrients you can. It doesn’t have to be much, maybe just a small drizzle of olive oil; though I like to stretch this rule from time to time (aka, when I eat sweet potato fries from restaurants : ) In addition, adding some fat and protein to your sweet potato will help lower the glycemic index, allowing for a more gradual insulin response. This prevents the likelihood of Type 2 diabetes, as well as fat storage in dangerous areas like the stomach (particularly scary because of its relationship with heart disease, and the threat fat in this area poses to your organs).

Fun Fact #4: Despite the blood-sugar skyrocketing effect of white potatoes, sweet potatoes are beneficial for regulating insulin response! Basically, sweet potatoes are world’s apart from their cousin in this respect because they contain so much fiber. If you’re diabetic, you know that fiber is your friend; it helps to keep your insulin response level so that your pancreas doesn’t have to endure the abuse of a roller-coaster ride. In addition, sweet potatoes contain a protein hormone Type 2 diabetics have lower levels of, which allows for a more even metabolization process. Win!

Fun Fact #5: Sweet potatoes can act as an anti-inflammatory. If you have an autoimmune disease or disorder (holla!), you probably know why this is an important quality.Antioxidant properties play a significant role in the repair of our tissues (random: sweet potatoes, if damaged, will heal themselves using their antioxidants — that is such a logical, but still impressive, illustration of the power of their nutrients!), but anti-inflammatory properties not only reduce the inflamed tissue, but also prevent them from flaring up again. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities are of especial interest, perhaps, to those with digestive issues and diseases, because the intestine absorbs all these chemicals (and thus their benefits) directly.

Fun Fact #6: Sweet potatoes are delicious. Ok. This might not count. Buuut. It’s true. Here’s another way I like to get my sweet potato crack fix nutrients… Cinnamon (Un)Sugar Dessert Hummus:

For more information, this is a great resource that offers more detail on the benefits of sweet potatoes. It has plenty of medical journal articles to peruse, if you’re into that sort of thing ; ) I always fact-check using this website, because I find it to be well-researched and copious in referencing the sources. Highly recommended!

What are your favorite sweet potato recipes?

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AboutKara

I’m a writer, new mom and foodie. I love sharing what I know while making others feel beautiful. On this blog, I share my healthy lifestyle, simple meals, fitness tips and experiences.

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