Superfood Spotlight: Sweet Potato Power!

china-1177665_1920Ask most anyone what their favorite comfort food is, and most likely, the answer will be potatoes, specifically, white potatoes. In fact, here in America, we consume 110 pounds of potatoes per year, reports Northern Plains Potatoes . Now, that’s a whole lot of comfort! But, a growing number of us are increasingly turning to another delicious option: The sweet potato. And it’s a good thing, because sweet potatoes can do some amazing things to boost your health.

But, before we talk about the awesomeness of the sweet potato, let’s talk about what it is not. First, it’s not related to the white potato—it’s from a different plant family. The white potato is from the nightshade family and the sweet potato from the morning glory family. Second, if you thought sweet potatoes were yams, they’re not. Yams come from a different plant family, are much starchier than sweet potatoes, and are more cylindrical in shape.

Now that we have those details of the way, let’s talk about a few of the health benefits of these gorgeous orange gems:

Boosts gut health. Sweet potatoes are loaded with fiber—7g* in a one cup serving—which helps keep you regular and helps to prevent colorectal cancer. Be sure to eat them with the skin on to get all of the fiber benefits.

Better night vision. A single one cup serving provides as much as 769%* of your daily requirement for vitamin A. And this vital nutrient is extremely important for the health of your eyes—especially for night vision.

Better blood pressure. Concerned about high blood pressure? The potassium and magnesium content of one medium sweet potato can help you to maintain a healthy blood pressure.

Not only are sweet potatoes one of the healthiest foods to include in your diet; They come in many different colors, ranging from white to deep red. If your local grocery store doesn’t offer many options, head for the nearest international grocery store. This is where I have found many different delicious varieties.

Sweet potatoes can be prepared just as you would white potatoes. Try sweet potato fries baked in a 400° oven for about 25 minutes. It’s so easy to make your own at home. Simply wash the sweet potatoes in cold water and then cut them up into French fry shapes. Then, toss them in a bowl with your favorite seasonings. Place them on ovenproof cooling racks (the same as you’d use to cool cookies hot out of the oven) set on a cookie sheet. Doing this helps keep the potatoes crispy. To keep it really healthy, consider not using any oil. The potatoes will be just as delicious without the added fat.

To your good health!

*Data from http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2667/2

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