Tuesday, November 12, 2013

What's so SWEET about Sweet Potatoes?

Sweet potatoes are an all around staple in my diet throughout the year!  There are multiple reasons for why, but just a few include the following:

They are low in calories.  A medium sweet potato (5" long x 2" in diameter) with skin has only approximately 100 nutrient-dense calories!

Packed with nutrients.  If you consume the skin, you'll get a healthy dose of Vitamin A in the form of beta carotene!  Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant that plays a role in vision health, bone development and immune function.  If you prepare your sweet potato with a bit of olive oil or butter you'll maximize your absorption of this fat-soluble vitamin! 

Filling Up on Fiber.  Minimizing blood sugar spikes and lows is an important part of weight control and satiety.  Sweet potatoes have around four grams of fiber (depending on their size) and over half of this is soluble fiber.  Soluble fiber is one of the keys to balancing blood sugar and to binding to excess cholesterol and removing it from the body! 

How do I prepare sweet potatoes?  

Oh let me count the ways!  

One of the key things to note is that to get the maximum nutritional benefits from your sweet potatoes you need to steam or boil them.  Recent studies show the anthocyanins (a powerful antioxidant) in sweet potatoes are preserved with steaming.  With only two minutes of steaming, the peroxidase enzymes that might otherwise breakdown anthocyanins, are destroyed.  This is perfect because I usually grab the sweet potatoes already wrapped and ready for steaming!

Here are a few of my favorite recipes if I'm feeling a bit more creative than the "throw the sweet potato in the microwave" routine!

Do you like sweet potatoes?  What's your favorite method of preparation? 

1 comment:

MJ said...

I eat sweet potatoes every day! Microwaved garnet/jewel/purple with almond and walnut butter are part of my breakfast every day along with grilled chicken breast and some asparagus. On Saturday after my long run, I indulge by adding coconut manna before I put the nut butters on and also using pecan butter (Fastachi pecan butter is swoon-worthy, love their cashew, pistachio and walnut also!). I used to top with honey but it messed with my blood sugar. A drop or two of maple syrup might work nicely.

Not sure what my favorite method of prep is as my everyday is so good. But fries can be great but sometimes don't work, grilling is good and can carmelize but may also leave you with "soup". I've also used cooked sweet potato slices for sandwich "bread" - works especially well with turkey, but you have to make sure the sweet potato still has some solidity to it. I haven't yet tried hash browns with sweet potatoes. I prefer them more on their own than in casseroles.

Found you through Endurance Planet - Tawnee's tweet! Congrats on Kona and your journey, looking forward to hearing you on the podcast.