food health

Sweet Potatoes for Health

Sweet potatoes are an excellent addition to any meal, and they can be used either as a main dish or as a side.  These tasty tubers aren’t just delicious, even though they have a flavor that most people enjoy.  The orange flesh of these root vegetables contain high amounts of vitamins and minerals that are essential to our health, and they are a good source of slow digesting carbohydrates while being low in fat.

Sweet potatoes are known for their unusually high beta-carotene content.  It’s this beta-carotene, or Vitamin A, that gives sweet potatoes their bright orange color, and one serving can meet up to 90% of our daily requirement.  So that we can absorb this vital nutrient, it’s helpful to add a little bit of fat to your sweet potatoes, such as butter or coconut oil.  This can easily be done if you choose to mash them, or if you roast them in the oven.  Steaming is also a great option, and can take as little as seven minutes.  You can add a sauce or dip that has a little bit of good fat in it for better absorption.

Steaming or boiling seem to be the best methods of preparation, since these have been shown to preserve the most antioxidants in the sweet potatoes.  These antioxidants are great for heart health, and overall anti-aging effects.  The potassium in sweet potatoes will help to balance out the salt we get from many other sources, and it’s even got B vitamins to help regulate energy and metabolism.  It’s a high-fiber food, so you’re helping the beneficial bacteria in your gut, as well as improving your digestion.

Since sweet potatoes are pretty low in calories, they make an ideal food for weight loss plans.  It may be tempting to add to the sweetness with brown sugar or maple syrup, but these will spike your blood sugar more than you need.  Instead, try a dusting of cinnamon, to improve blood sugar control as well as make this an even more anti-inflammatory dish.

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