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7 Benefits Of Sweet Potatoes That Will Surprise You (+5 Recipes)

7 Benefits Of Sweet Potatoes That Will Surprise You (+5 Recipes)

Ahh, the sweet potato. It is the red-headed stepchild to the potato family. Those of you who enjoy potatoes, you might like to think the people who eat sweet potatoes are pretty weird. You think they are probably the same person who stood all by themselves by the fence during recess or whose mother packed him a sandwich using wheat bread and raspberry jam.

But for those of us who love sweet potatoes, we work really hard to advocate the health benefits and to convert people to our sweet potato cult. So I am standing up for the sweet potato-, raspberry-, wheat bread-lovers to share with you the amazing health benefits of sweet potatoes.

1. They contain the god of vitamins

Vitamin D is probably the most important vitamin to keep the human body healthy and fit. It aids our overall health and our immune system. Typically, Vitamin D is made from the sun, which is easy to get in the summer. However, if you drew the short stick for the location you were born, sweet potatoes can help you overcome things like Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Vitamin D also plays a critical role in our energy levels, helps us build healthy bones, heart, nerves, skin and teeth, and supports the thyroid glands.

2. They will reduce your stress

Sweet potatoes contain mineral iron, which not only aids in energy, but also aids in red and white blood cell production, resistance to stress, proper immune functioning, and helps metabolizes protein.

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3. They fight against heart attacks

One of the benefits of sweet potatoes is that they contain Vitamin B6, which reduces the chemical homocysteine that has been linked to cause common degenerative diseases.

4. They are the fountain of youth

They will not make you younger, but sweet potatoes contain Vitamin C, which produces collagen–a structural protein that keeps the skin elastic.

5. They help regulate your heart and nervous system

The sweet potato contains the electrolyte potassium, which performs many functions such as regulating your heartbeat, reducing swelling, protecting your kidneys, and relaxing muscle contractions.

6. They are sweet without the weight gain

Yeah, I know. It is in the name. The sweet potato’s natural sugars are slowly released into the bloodstream, meaning you get a steady supply of energy without the weight gain and fatigue that comes with other sugars.

7. They will give you supervision

Probably not enough to make you a superhero, so put those capes and tights back in your closet. Maybe someday you will get a superpower. Sweet potatoes contain carotenoids like beta carotene, which helps improve your eyesight and boost your immune system.

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Get the Benefits of Sweet Potatoes With These 5 Amazing Recipes

Sweet potatoes can be eaten plain, but they are much better when they are prepared in a dish that is so delicious, even non-sweet potato lovers will enjoy it.

Savory sweet potato fries

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    Ingredients:
    2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into French fry-size pieces
    1 tablespoon olive oil, or as needed
    2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary, or to taste
    coarse sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper to taste

    Directions:
    Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
    Toss sweet potatoes, olive oil, rosemary, salt, and pepper together in a large bowl until evenly coated. Arrange sweet potatoes on a baking sheet.
    Bake in the preheated oven until tender, 20 to 30 minutes.

    Sweet potato burritos

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    sweetpotatoeburrito

      Ingredients:
      1 tablespoon vegetable oil
      1 onion, chopped
      4 cloves garlic, minced
      6 cups canned kidney beans, drained
      2 cups water
      3 tablespoons chili powder
      4 teaspoons prepared mustard
      2 teaspoons ground cumin
      1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
      3 tablespoons soy sauce
      4 cups mashed cooked sweet potatoes
      12 (10 inch) flour tortillas, warmed
      8 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese

      Directions:
      Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
      Heat oil in a medium skillet; saute onion and garlic until soft. Mash beans into the onion mixture. Gradually stir in water; heat until warm, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the soy sauce, chili powder, mustard, cumin, and cayenne pepper.
      Divide bean mixture and mashed sweet potatoes evenly between the tortillas; top with cheese. Fold tortillas burrito-style around the fillings and place on a baking sheet.
      Bake in the preheated oven until warmed through, about 12 minutes.

      Mashed sweet potato

      shutterstock_79399837

        Ingredients:
        6 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
        3/4 cup milk
        1/2 cup butter
        3/4 cup maple syrup

        Directions:
        Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender, 20 to 30 minutes.
        With an electric mixer on low, blend potatoes, slowly adding milk, about 1/2 a cup at a time. Use more or less to achieve desired texture. Add butter and maple syrup to taste. Blend until smooth. Serve warm.

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        Sweet potato salad

        sweetpotatosalad

          Ingredients:
          2 potatoes
          1 sweet potato
          4 eggs
          2 stalks celery, chopped
          1/2 onion, chopped
          3/4 cup mayonnaise
          1 tablespoon prepared mustard
          1 teaspoon salt
          1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper

          Directions:
          Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 30 minutes. Drain, cool, peel and chop.
          Place eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring water to a boil. Cover, remove from heat, and let eggs stand in hot water for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from hot water; cool, peel and chop.
          Combine the potatoes, eggs, celery and onion.
          Whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, salt and pepper. Add to potato mixture, toss well to coat. Refrigerate and serve chilled.

          Roasted sweet potato with garlic

          roastedsweetpotato

            Ingredients:
            2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in 1-inch chunks
            2 medium Vidalia or other sweet onions, cut in 1-inch chunks
            Onions Sweet
            3 tablespoons olive oil
            1/4 cup amaretto liqueur
            1 teaspoon dried thyme
            Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
            1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

            Directions:
            Heat oven to 425 degrees F.
            Toss first six ingredients in a shallow medium-sized baking dish.
            Cover; bake 30 minutes. Uncover; bake 20 minutes more. Sprinkle with almonds

            Featured photo credit: Brent Hofacker via shutterstock.com

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            Last Updated on August 20, 2018

            35 Anniversary Ideas to Bring You Closer Together

            35 Anniversary Ideas to Bring You Closer Together

            Every mature relationship has had a less-than-memorable anniversary. Maybe one of you forgot, or both of you got busy with work, kids, family issues, or something else. Whatever happened, the day came and went without fanfare. And neither of you seemed to notice or much care.

            But for the health of any relationship, it’s important to make important days feel special. Anniversaries offer the wonderful opportunity to relive beautiful memories, practice gratefulness for your partner, and to show your love and strengthen your bond. Make this year’s anniversary with your significant other something special  — one that will bring you closer together.

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            The best way to create a memorable anniversary is to do something new and different together as a couple. Stretch yourselves a bit.

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            While boredom can silently kill a relationship, new experiences reinforce the shared bond you already have and create strong new memories. Just think back to the most significant memories you have right now with your spouse and imagine what new ones you can create!

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            While you enjoy your chosen anniversary activity, be sure to keep a positive attitude and make your partner happy too on that day. Leave all arguments and day to day detail behind. Just celebrate your relationship. Whether you’re going to spend the day together at home, getting away, or having a wild and crazy new experience together, you can have your best anniversary yet!

            If You’re Staying In

            1. Spend an evening with no technology, just the two of you and maybe a board game. It’s hard to keep ourselves away from our computers and smartphones long enough to have a meaningful conversation. Make a rule not to use your tech and you’ll rekindle your relationship!
            2. Make wine or beer together. If you enjoy drinking together, this is a fun activity to try together. Just remember to buy the necessary equipment ahead of time.
            3. Learn something new about each other. With an open mind, try asking some of the New York Times’ 36 questions that lead to love. They’ll help spark intimacy and will lead to some really honest moments.
            4. Have a lazy day. Breakfasts in bed, spend all day in bed talking and napping. Follow breakfast with champagne and dessert! If you feel like getting more active, cook together or play some games. Here’re some simple breakfast ideas for you.
              • Learn to dance at home. This is best for those active couples who work out together and also enjoy learning something new together. Just go on Youtube to find any music with dance tutorials and learn together.
              • Visit model homes or open houses and plan your dream home.
              • Have a special dessert – champagne and chocolate covered strawberries. Having an unusual treat makes a day feel extra special. If you want to make the dessert really special, try these tasty dessert recipes.
              • Create a playlist of your favorite songs as a couple. Choose songs that tell your story, and songs that you bonded over throughout your relationships. Here’re some love songs ideas for your inspirations.
                • Write your love story. Write it together or ave each of you write your own and then bring them together in an interesting, both sides of the story format.
                • Get a fondue pot. Fondue is a fun way to enjoy melted cheeses (for savory items) and melted chocolate (for sweeter treats).
                • Decorate! Turn your home into a dressed-up french cottage, a sophisticated restaurant, or simply with flowers. The different ambience will immediately change the feel of your home and make it feel like a staycation.
                  • Talk about the future together. It might sound simple and everyday, but imagining how you want to spend your retirement together, or planning future trips can be exciting and romantic.

                  If You Want to Get Away

                  1. Take a day trip together to your favorite spot. If you live in a city, it can be incredibly refreshing to get away for an afternoon and drink in the outdoors.
                  2. Go on a scenic drive and stop at a wine and cheese bar. Or, if you’re lucky enough to have lots of options where you live, try a brewpub. There are tons of small craft breweries with fantastic food options too.
                  3. Go camping. Relatively affordable and, if the weather’s right, beautiful and romantic.
                    • Take an overnight backpacking trip. For the more adventurous couples, backpacking is an even more intense way to challenge yourself physically while becoming one with nature.
                    • Take a wine tasting tour. If you live on the West Coast or in the Northeast, take a drive to the nearest winery. Many offer relatively inexpensive tastings and deals if you purchase a certain amount.
                    • Take a scenic train trip. Taking the train means less stress traveling: nobody has to drive, you don’t have to stop for breaks every few hours, and you can sleep if you need to!
                    • Save up for a destination vacation. What better time than your anniversary to enjoy the beach at a beautiful resort?
                    • Explore a new city. Whether you’re on a budget or have a lot saved up, you can have a great time just exploring an unfamiliar town.
                    • Rent a cabin for a weekend away, in the woods or next to a lake or ocean. If you like the outdoors but can only take so much nature, try glamping.
                      • Go on a retreat. Yoga retreats, meditation retreats, beautiful natural surroundings … they’re all the rage. Search for centeredness and calm with your partner.
                      • Spend a day at a food festival. Many cities have fun and affordable food festivals, occasionally based on a theme. Check out your town’s (or a nearby city) calendar for inspiration!

                      New & Exciting Experiences

                      1. Go spelunking. Dark, damp, and utterly exciting!
                      2. Go on a hot air balloon ride. Because the basket is relatively small, this can be a romantic and deeply personal – and yet thrilling –
                        experience.
                        • Try sky diving. If you and you S.O. are real thrill-seekers, sky diving can really push you to the edge!
                        • Explore the underwater world by snorkeling or scuba diving. This may take you far away from where you normally live and work, which is an added bonus.
                        • Experience white water rafting.
                        • Drive or hike to the highest spot nearby for a new view of the world. America has tons of beautiful mountains where challenging hikes (or drives) can deliver breathtaking views.
                        • Take a craft or cooking class. Up your craft skills or food  making skills, and enjoy something new!
                          • Take a wine and painting class today. These classes are easily found these days and even a beginning painter can create a nice painting. Challenging but relaxing, fun, and you get to go home with some artwork!
                          • Learn to salsa dance. Dancing is a fantastic way to actively get closer and coordinate physically with one another.
                            • Visit a nearby festival you’ve always wanted to go to. Have fun and let go with fellow audience-members!
                            • Spend the day at an amusement park together. Laugh and carry on like teenagers.
                            • Meet new people! At a restaurant, concert, or class, make it a point to meet new friends. Striking up conversation with someone you don’t know – but with whom you have shared interests – can be an adventurous and rewarding experience.

                            Whether your budget is big or small, and whether you have a little or a ton of time together, focus on each other. There are tons of options, in terms of location, level of physical activity, and cost. You can make the day special in a way that’s right for you!

                            Featured photo credit: Photo by Taylor L. Spurgeon on Unsplash via unsplash.com

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