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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 September 18, 2020

            7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

            7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

            Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

            Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

            1. Exercise Daily

            It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

            If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

            Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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            If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

            2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

            Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

            One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

            This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

            3. Acknowledge Your Limits

            Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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            Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

            Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

            4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

            Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

            The basic nutritional advice includes:

            • Eat unprocessed foods
            • Eat more veggies
            • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
            • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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            Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

              5. Watch Out for Travel

              Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

              This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

              If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

              6. Start Slow

              Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

              If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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              7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

              Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

              My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

              If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

              I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

              Final Thoughts

              Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

              Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

              More Tips on Getting in Shape

              Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

              Reference

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