5 Benefits of Eating Sweet Potatoes
Written by Amanda Ennett
Sweet potatoes tend to be a favorite among clean eaters and fitness fanatics alike. They give a little sweetness to a bland diet and a dose of healthy fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Sweet potatoes can be found in local markets year-round, however they are most abundant in season in November and December, but are also in season in January.Be sure to scrub and eat the skin of the sweet potato, it is where most of the minerals are stored.
- Eating one large baked sweet potato gives you nearly 25 percent of your daily potassium needs.
- The orange-flesh sweet potatoes are exceedingly rich in beta-carotene (vitamin A).
- A single large sweet potato contains more than 100 percent of the RDA for vitamin C.
- The purple-flesh varieties are outstanding sources of antioxidants.
- A large sweet potato contains 37 g of carbohydrates.
- Sweet potatoes contain a valuable amount of dietary fiber (just over 3 grams per medium sweet potato).
- They are also a very good source of manganese, copper, dietary fiber, niacin, and vitamin B5.
Sweet Potatoes Fuel Muscles
Sweet potatoes are complex carbohydrates. Complex carbs not only leave us feeling fuller for longer and control our blood sugar but when broken down turn into fuel for our muscles. These carbs are stored in the body in the form of glycogen. Glycogen in your muscles is important for activities requiring quick bursts of intense work, such as lifting weights.
Clean-eaters, bodybuilders, dieters and fitlifers choose low glycemic index foods to give them sustained energy throughout the day. Sweet potatoes have a significantly lower glycemic index compared to other starchy vegetables like peas and white potatoes.If boiled or steamed sweet potatoes can carry a very reasonable glycemic index (GI) rating of approximately 50.
Food starches can be converted by our digestive tract into simple sugars. Most starchy root vegetables are not helpful for controlling blood sugar. Sweet potatoes actually improve blood sugar regulation—even in persons with type 2 diabetes.
Research has shown that extracts from sweet potatoes can significantly increase blood levels of adiponectin, a protein hormone produced by our fat cells.
Adiponetin enhances your muscle’s ability to use carbohydrates for energy, boosts your metabolism, increase the rate in which your body breaks down fat, and curbs your appetite.
Adiponectin works with leptin (the “stop-eating” hormone)to perform complementary actions, and can have synergistic effects.
Caramelized Onion and Ginger Sweet Potatoes
- 6 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 medium onion, cut in half and sliced thin
- 4 medium cloves garlic, chopped
- 1-1/2 Tbsp finely minced fresh ginger
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 Tbsp honey
- 1 Tbsp + 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
- salt and pepper to taste
Slice onions and chop garlic and let sit for 5 minutes to enhance their health-promoting properties.
Heat 1 Tbsp broth in a larger skillet. Sauté onion over medium heat for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic and ginger and continue to sauté for another minute, stirring constantly.
Add sweet potatoes, cinnamon, honey, and 1 cup broth. Mix and simmer over low heat covered for about 15 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are tender. Season with salt and pepper.
By Amanda Ennett
At home, this mom and busy wife doesn’t let daily stress stop her from eating clean and training hard. On the job, Amanda uses her BS in Exercise Science to aide physical therapy patients and transform her personal training clients. On her off time, she loves to write about her main passions: nutrition and healthy living. Amanda considers herself a self-proclaimed health fanatic living by the mantra “let thy food be thy medicine.”
Follow my facebook page @ AJ’s: Fit n Beautiful [https://www.facebook.com/Fit.n.Beautiful] and on instagram @fitnbeautiful
Image Courtesy: Heidi Billotto: Food
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