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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
6 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup maple syrup
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.
Sweet potato salad
1 sweet potato
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
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
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in 1-inch chunks
2 medium Vidalia or other sweet onions, cut in 1-inch chunks
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
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