New recipes

Why sweet potato is healthy

Why sweet potato is healthy

The sweet potato is a bright orange root vegetable, and is treated in a similar way to butternut squash, parsnips, swede and turnips. Unlike potatoes, these vegetables do count towards your 5-a-day because they are lower in starch than other carbohydrates and are usually eaten in addition to the starchy part of the meal.

8 healthy ways to use sweet potato

1 / 8

BBQ baked beans

With smashed sweet potatoes

Comforting and delicious, this is a great meat-free dinner idea or, without the killer croutons, it makes a damn fine side with roasted meats

So, what in particular do sweet potatoes offer that makes them good for us? And what is the difference between sweet potatoes and white potatoes? Sweet potatoes are a source of four essential micronutrients: vitamin C, thiamin, potassium and manganese, which between them have a whole range of properties that our bodies need to keep us ticking over.

The most prominent nutrient in sweet potatoes is vitamin C: one large sweet potato contains more than 70% of our reference intake, more than double that of white potatoes! Vitamin C’s roles in the human body are vast: aside from the well-known immune system boost, vitamin C is required to maintain our teeth and gums, cell protection, psychological function, nervous system function and it also enhances our ability to absorb iron.

Our bodies use manganese for bone health, but also to protect our cells from the damage caused by stress. Thiamin is a B-vitamin that our nervous systems need to function properly, but our hearts also need it to function properly, which makes thiamine an especially important mineral! Potassium we need to keep our nervous systems functioning properly, for our muscles to contract , and also to keep our blood pressure healthy.

The other good thing about sweet potatoes is that they are so versatile: you can mash them, bake them, make fries with them, top a fish pie with them, pretty much anything you can do with a white potato. Plus, it’s an almost effortless way to change up from regular potatoes!.

For more ideas on what to do with sweet potatoes, check out our gallery of healthy sweet potato recipes!

And for more information on preparing and storing sweet potatoes, check out the Vegepedia.


Sweet Potatoes For Weight Loss | How Sweet Potatoes Help Lose Weight

  • Sweet potatoes have lesser calories than what potatoes have. So having a medium-sized baked or roasted sweet potato for snacks may not hurt your weight loss goals.
  • Sweet potatoes come loaded with fibre, especially when served with the skin on. Dietary fibre tends to absorb water, making you feel fuller, further helping you to stick to a calorie-restricted diet. Regular potatoes are low in fibre content, making them less healthy than their counterparts.
  • Sweet potatoes are known to reduce your appetite. A study published in Journal of Medicinal Food found that sweet potatoes have the ability to shrink fat cells.
  • Sweet potatoes are rich in important nutrients, which can help you stay healthy as you lose weight.
  • They are considered as low-glycaemic foods that do not cause an instant spike in blood sugar levels, further helping maintain weight efficiently. An unstable blood glucose level can cause conditions like obesity and diabetes.
  • The high water content in sweet potatoes makes them great for weight loss. Dehydration slows down your metabolism, further causing weight gain and other health problems. Consuming sweet potato helps rehydrate your cells and boost metabolic activity in the body. This, in turn, will help prevent your body from accumulating fat, balance the natural pH levels and flush out toxins.

How to use sweet potatoes to lose weight (Recipes)

Best way to eat sweet potatoes is to roast, steam, bake or boil it. You can add it in salads, yogurt, or just eat it as a chaat. Here are some healthy sweet potato recipes that you can prepare at home to include in your diet:

So, enjoy the goodness of sweet potatoes and lose weight in a healthy way. Complement it with a healthy diet and exercises to reach your weight loss goals.


Curried Sweet Potato Burger with Tomato Chutney and Cilantro Aioli

Courtesy of My Darling Vegan

Craving a veggie burger? These super flavorful sweet potato burgers will satisfy your cravings for a hearty dish. Packed with lentils and quinoa and spiced with coriander, turmeric, paprika, and cayenne, these plant-based patties take up only 10 minutes to cook.

Get the recipe from My Darling Vegan.


9 Health Benefits of Sweet Potato

If you&rsquore a lover of french fries and mashed potato, but dedicated to living a healthier lifestyle, you&rsquoll probably have met their nutrient-packed cousin, the sweet potato. In America, sweet potatoes, or yams, are often used in sweeter dishes or for festive occasions, but here at Food Matters, we love to use them in everything! Think sweet potato fries from a trendy dive bar or an upgrade to your simple steamed veggies.

But aside from its delicious taste, why are people going crazy over this carb? Here are nine of my favorite health benefits of sweet potato that will make it your new dinner staple.

Lower Glycemic Load

For those with weight issues, diabetes, or who have been flagged with pre-diabetes, taking note of the glycemic load of foods is crucial to good health. While sweet potato does still offer a glycemic load of its own, it is greatly reduced from that of traditional potato, making it the perfect one-for-one substitute in any meal.

More Nutrient Dense

At Food Matters, we have always encouraged nutrient-packed a more is more approach to food. That&rsquos not necessarily in terms of caloric intake or portion size, but rather we believe in building in as many vitamins and minerals into one meal as possible. Sweet potatoes, compared to traditional potatoes, are a great way to do that. They are a rich and diverse source of fiber, vitamins A, C & B6, and the essential minerals manganese, potassium, and copper.

Supports A Thriving Immune System

Orange-fleshed sweet potatoes are one of the richest natural sources of beta-carotene, a plant-based compound that is converted to vitamin A in your body. And if beta-carotene sounds familiar to you - here&rsquos why. As we begin to talk more openly about natural ways to support immunity, we increasingly seek out foods rich in beta-carotene. This is because Vitamin A is critical to a healthy immune system, with low blood levels linked to reduced immunity.

Promote Thriving Gut Health

As sweet potatoes punch well above their weight as a healthy source of fiber, they contribute to thriving digestion and in turn, incredible gut health. These vegetables contain both soluble and insoluble types of fiber, which is optimal for healthy digestion. Some of these fibers are also fermented by bacteria in the colon, creating short-chain fatty acids that support the cells of your intestinal lining, by keeping them healthy and strong.

But not only is their rich fiber content gut supporting, so too are antioxidant compounds found in sweet potatoes, which encourage the growth of healthy gut bacteria . The Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus species, in particular, have been associated with better gut health and lower incidences of IBS and infectious diarrhea.

May Offer Cancer-Fighting Properties

While it&rsquos difficult to label foods claiming to &ldquocure&rdquo or &ldquoprevent&rdquo cancer, thanks to recent research we are able to quite easily define those that offer cancer-fighting properties. Many of the antioxidants offered from sweet potatoes have been shown to protect against cancer development in research trials, which is sufficient evidence to support these claims.

Anthocyanins, a group of antioxidants found in purple sweet potatoes, have been found to slow the growth of certain types of cancer cells in test-tube studies, including those found in the bladder , colon , stomach, and breast. Orange sweet potatoes have also been shown to contain similar properties. And while this evidence is compelling, there are still ethical boundaries preventing human trials.

Supports Healthy Vision & Eye Health

Remember the beta-carotene that is crucial for immunity? Well, it&rsquos equally as important for optimizing vision and eye health. After beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A in the body, it is used to help support light receptors in the eyes, which is vital for healthy vision. The anthocyanins found in sweet potatoes have also been shown to protect against cell damage in the eyes.

Improves Brain Function

Anthocyanins, the powerhouse compound in sweet potatoes that can do no wrong, has also been proven beneficial in supporting brain function and longevity. These compounds have been shown to reduce inflammation and free radical activity, which can lead to cell death and impair brain function. Not only do anthocyanins prevent these negative effects, but some studies have also shown they can improve learning and memory receptors in animal studies.

While these effects are still yet to be proven in human-related trials, there is compelling evidence to suggest that a diet rich in fruit and vegetables leads to a lowered risk of mental decline and dementia.

Help To Manage Stress Levels

Stress is one of the leading health concerns of our generation. Not only does it impact the body physically, but it has a profound effect on all aspects of our lives. Sweet potatoes also contain a significant amount of magnesium, which research has shown is beneficial in reducing the impact of stress and anxiety in the body. With magnesium deficiencies globally being linked to a rise in depression, it&rsquos reason enough alone to incorporate sweet potato into your next meal.

Protect The Body Against Ulcers

If you&rsquove ever had an ulcer, you&rsquoll know how painful and problematic the small site of inflammation can be. Ulcers occur due to the shedding of inflamed tissue (often triggered by stress), but the methanol extract found in sweet potatoes has been linked to decreased occurrence of ulcers, especially those related to aspirin and other painkillers.

Just when you thought sweet potatoes couldn&rsquot get any more delicious, they bring a whole new range of health benefits to the table. Because of this, we chose to feature sweet potatoes throughout our signature Clean Eating Program as a kitchen staple. Want to learn more about the program? Discover it all, and more, here.

James Colquhoun is the filmmaker behind Food Matters, Hungry For Change, and Transcendence Seasons 1 & 2 and founder of Food Matters and FMTV. Along with Laurentine ten Bosch, James founded the Food Matters community …


Sweet Potato Side Dish or Appetizer Recipes

When you find yourself with tons of sweet potatoes on hand, whipping up a large sweet potato side dish or appetizer is a great way to use it up. These side dishes are simple to make and don’t require much alteration to the original spud. Simply dice it up to roast on a sheet tray, slice them into wedges to bake it, or spiralize it into curly fries. Either way, you just need a little bit of seasoning on each and you’re done!

If you have a favorite sweet potato recipe that you’ve tried, let me know in a comment below!


Purple Sweet Potato Can Help Improve Digestive Health

Purple sweet potato juice or baked purple sweet potato can help to improve your digestion.

A 2016 study found that the nutritional content of purple sweet potatoes can help to improve your gut’s microbiota. Anthocyanins help to increase the number of beneficial probiotics and that helps with digestion. Researchers noted a higher concentration of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus probiotics after ingesting purple sweet potato. (10)

The reason for the improvement in digestive health was due to the fact that purple sweet potato has prebiotic qualities which act as “food” for healthy gut bacteria (probiotics).

Consuming purple sweet potatoes can also be good if you suffer from chronic or acute digestive conditions. The journal Digestive Diseases and Sciences reported that sweet potato is among the foods that don’t provoke symptoms of digestive conditions such as gastroparesis (delayed gastric emptying). (11)

To help improve your digestive health, you can try some of these natural remedies for an upset stomach.

If you are recovering from a bout of gastroenteritis (stomach flu), you could add purple sweet potato to a bland diet to help recover quicker from a stomach bug.


Now that you know how beneficial a sweet potato can be, here are a couple of recipes that allow you to prepare them just in time for Thanksgiving.

Scalloped Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 2 1/2 cups low-fat milk
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 1/4 tsp white or black pepper
  • 1 sweet potato or 6, depending on serving size, cut into 1/4″ slices
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup of a finely chopped small onion
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

1. Put oven racks on the highest and lowest third positions. Preheat to 425°F.

2. Take your pieces of sweet potato, beneficial for a healthy pregnancy, and put them in a bowl. Add 1 tbsp of oil and toss around until the pieces are thoroughly coated. Spread and divide the pieces over two pans. Put them in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Switch the pans halfway through.

3. While those pieces are roasting, put the last 2 tbsp of oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and stir it periodically for 5 to 8 minutes. Add the salt, pepper and flour. Stir for another minute. Add the milk. While stirring, scrape up any brown pieces sticking to the bottom of the pan. Raise the heat to medium-high. Stir for 3 to 5 minutes.

4. Take out the cooked pieces of sweet potato once the time is up. Get your broiler, and put one pan of pieces in a broiler-safe dish. Cover them with half of the sauce and cheese. Top that with the other half of the sweet potato pieces, then the rest of the sauce and cheese. Broil while staying close by. You must watch it until the sauce bubbles and the cheese starts browning. This could range from 1 to 5 minutes. Turn off the broiler and let it stand for 10 minutes. Top the meal with rosemary and it’s ready to be served.

Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole

Ingredients

  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • extra salt and cinnamon or sugar for topping
  • 1 sweet potato or 6, depending on serving size (any amount is beneficial for a healthy pregnancy)
  • 1 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil or melted butter

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  2. Take each sweet potato and wrap them in aluminum foil. Leave them in the oven for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. For a healthy pregnancy, it’s important to eat sweet potato cooked rather than raw. This is because you get more nutrition from it compared to eating it immediately after it’s been picked.
  3. Remove each sweet potato from the oven. Lower the oven heat to 375°F.
  4. Cut the potatoes in half. Let them cool.
  5. Peel off the skin.
  6. Put the potatoes and applesauce in a blender. Blend until the mixture is smooth.
  7. Add the coconut oil or butter, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg to the mixture. Blend together until everything is combined.
  8. Put the mixture in a 9″ baking dish. Add the extra salt and cinnamon or sugar as well as the pecans.
  9. Leave the pan in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes. When the potatoes start to bubble, take the pan out of the oven.
  10. Let it stand for 10 minutes, and then serve.

The most common foods people look forward to eating for Thanksgiving is stuffing and turkey. Now, you can add sweet potatoes to that list because you can make one of the two deliciously healthy dishes. These dishes will supply you and your baby with a nice dose of vitamins and minerals. Feel free to share your cooked sweet potatoes with other expecting mothers. Talk to your family at Thanksgiving about why your dish encourages healthy pregnancies.

Related Content: Cord Blood Donation: An Option Post-Labor

Most of us are familiar with bone marrow and blood donations. Cord blood donations are along the same lines as these when it comes to their use. The blood found in the umbilical cord and placenta shortly after childbirth contains stem cells that are useful for treating many diseases, as the cells are able to grow into healthy blood cells and immune system cells, among others.

Related Posts

Pregnant and nursing women have a lot on their plate. They are providing for the&hellip

Pregnant women with cystic fibrosis (CF) are considered high-risk pregnancies, but there are many ways&hellip

Women who have been pregnant are well-aware of pregnancy cravings that are often experienced, which&hellip


And finally, to round out our list of sweet potato recipes: this Southwest Salad! It’s a main dish salad recipe featuring a mix of sweet potatoes, veggies, and rice drizzled with a green chile vinaigrette.

Did you know there are hundreds of types of sweet potatoes? They range from white and mild to deep red and super sweet. There are even some purple sweet potato varieties! The type of sweet potato we’ve used in all of our recipes is a sweet potato with orange flesh. We enjoy white-fleshed sweet potatoes, but we’ve found we like the color and flavor of those with orange flesh best. Of course, you can play around and use other varieties of sweet potatoes based on your taste!


Say hi to Heather!

Heather Staller is not only a dear friend of mine and fellow veggie-lovin’ mama, but a gifted recipe developer! She is the lady behind the amazing site Happy Kids Kitchen, where she shares healthy recipes to not only make for your kids….but WITH your kids. When she is not mommying two young boys, Heather is teaching kids cooking classes and sharing her amazing ideas on Instagram.

Heather is the brains behind this recipe and created it with the hope of helping you get more veggies in at breakfast in a fun and delicious way. And in fact, TNNers, she totally accomplished that with these healthy little sweet potato pancakes!


1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/4" cubes
1/2 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/8 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
4 eggs

Step 1

Microwave cubed potatoes for 5 minutes in microwave, or until slightly soft. Heat half the oil in a large nonstick skillet and add the potato, onion, and bell pepper sautee till they begin to brown, about 7 minutes. Add the cayenne, salt, and pepper. Meanwhile, in a separate skillet, fry the eggs sunny-side up in the remaining oil.