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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 December 9, 2019

            5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

            5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

            Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

            Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

            Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

            1. Get Rationally Optimistic

            Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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            This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

            In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

            The result: no more mental stress.

            2. Unplug

            Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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            How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

            It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

            Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

            3. Easy on the Caffeine

            Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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            Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

            4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

            That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

            How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

            • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
            • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
            • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

            While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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            5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

            This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

            The result: mental stress will be gone!

            So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

            More to Help You Feel Relaxed

            Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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