Sweet potato is a root that reminds us of autumn, and especially of Thanksgiving Day, with its golden color and its sweet taste. On this day, the British colonists and the American Indians gave thanks for their new relationship and for their abundant harvests. Within this special day's menu, we find turkey, ham, pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce, and sweet potatoes.
This root becomes available since August, so why wait until November to start getting all its healthy benefits?
Besides being full of flavor and color, sweet potato, also known as yam or boniato, is loaded with fiber, vitamins and minerals that benefit your body. Its most abundant nutrient is vitamin A, which comes from beta carotene and is responsible of its peculiar color. Vitamin A is very beneficial to your body's immune system and to your sight. Moreover, it is a powerful antioxidant, which helps eliminate free radicals that contribute to the development of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and arthritis.
Like vitamin A, vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that strengthens your immune system and may reduce the risk of colds and flu, which are very common diseases during this time of the year. By eating sweet potato, you will also get a considerable amount of this vitamin.
The most abundant mineral in this root is potassium, which helps you maintain a normal blood pressure and preserve your cardiovascular health.
This food, rich in vitamins and minerals, is also high in complex carbohydrates, especially fiber, which promotes a good digestion and aids in the control of your cholesterol and glucose levels, thus improving your heart health.
All these benefits can be obtained by eating one serving (1/2 cup) of sweet potato, with no more than 100 calories. Take advantage of this season to prepare sweet potatoes in many different ways. The best ways to cook them are: boiled, pureed, and baked. You can also use sweet potato puree to make bread, pies, and puddings.
United States Department of Agriculture. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference; revised on October, 2008, from: http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/cgi-bin/nut_search_new.pl
Labesnky, S. & A. Hause. 2003. On Cooking. A Textbook of Culinary Fundamentals. 3 rdedition. United States of America. Prentice Hall
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