More About Sweet Potatoes

Last week I wrote about the benefit of including some carbohydrate foods in the diet while working to support the balance of microbes in the digestive tract. Sweet potatoes fall into this carbohydrate category as a more starchy vegetable, and with the weather beginning to become more autumnal, it is a wonderfully warming and satisfying food.

One way that I like to use sweet potato is to roast it in a little extra virgin olive oil (keeping temperatures below 180 degrees Celsius) and then tossing it into a salad. This transforms the salad into a warming meal and adds a different flavour and texture to complement green leaves. I also like to pre-bake tomatoes – either wedges or mini tomatoes cut in halves, and then add to salad leaves, as these too add a depth of flavour to bring change to a winter salad.

Last week I posted the first half of an article by Food Matters which talked about some benefits of Sweet Potatoes. The article continues below:

7. They Won’t Spike Your Blood Sugar

Unlike refined carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta, candy and other sweets. Sweet potatoes are low on the glycemic index, slowly releasing their natural sugars into the blood stream. So you won’t go on a sugar-induced rollercoaster. This helps to ensure a balanced and regular source of energy for the body, reducing fatigue during the day and excessive hunger pangs.

8. They’re Loaded With Antioxidants

That rich orange color is a sign that they’re high in carotenoids, a type of antioxidant, that are the precursors to vitamin A in your body. Vitamin A is essential for healthy eyes, a boosted immunity, and protects you against the effects of aging. They’re also powerful antioxidants that help ward off cancer! Studies at Harvard University of more than 124,000 people showed a 32 percent reduction in risk of lung cancer in people who consumed a variety of carotenoid-rich foods as part of their regular diet. Another study of women who had completed treatment for early-stage breast cancer conducted by researchers at Women’s Healthy Eating and Living (WHEL) found that women with the highest blood concentrations of carotenoids had the least likelihood of cancer recurrence. So impressive!

9. You Can Eat Them In Many Ways

They’re one of the simplest foods to cook and incredibly versatile. You can roast them, puree them, steam, bake or grill them. Add them to stews, soups, salads, and even desserts! Regardless of how you have them, add a little fat/oil to get the most nutrients.

10. They’re Anti-Inflammatory

Anthocyanin and other color-related pigments in sweet potato are equally valuable for their anti-inflammatory health benefits.

11. They Support Healthy Wound Healing

The plant nutrients in sweet potato impact fibrinogen in the body. Fibrinogen is one of the key glycoproteins in the body that is required for successful blood clotting. With the help of a coagulation factor called thrombin, fibrinogen gets converted into fibrin during the blood clotting process. Balanced amounts of fibrinogen, thrombin and fibrin are a key part of the body’s health and its ability to close off wounds and stop loss of blood!

12. Spuds With Anti-Bacterial Properties!

In sweet potatoes, researchers have long been aware of one group of resin glycosides called batatins (including batatin I and batatin II). But only recently have researchers discovered a related group of glycosides in sweet potato called batatosides (including batatodide III, batatoside IV, and batatoside V). In lab studies, most of these sweet potato glycosides have been shown to have antibacterial and antifungal properties. Cool, right?! We’re excited to see what else this line of research discovers about this impressive yet humble root vegetable!

 

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