One of my all time favorite veggies are Sweet Potatoes. First, because I love the TASTE (that’s probably because I have a sweet tooth). Second, because of their nutrition and HEALTH BENEFITS. Third, because they're so VERSATILE and great to use for many healthy recipes (think sweet potato brownies, sweet potato crust, sweet potato toasts,..).
The most important thing to clarify is that, despite its name, a Sweet Potato is NOT a potato. Regular potatoes come in all shapes and colors (regular white potatoes, russet potatoes, red skinned, baby potatoes, purple potatoes,..), but all of these potatoes are higher in starch, higher in calories and lower in fiber than sweet potatoes, so have a higher glycemic index. Basically, they convert quicker to sugar in your body, and can more easily spike your blood sugar levels, which can lead to hormonal imbalances.
Sweet Potatoes have the opposite effect as they’re actually known to help stabilize hormones. Despite their sweet taste, their high fiber content helps keep your blood sugar stable. They contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. The soluble fiber - on top of helping stabilize blood sugar - helps increase your satiety (sense of being “full”) to keep you from over-eating; insoluble fiber is linked to reduced risk of diabetes and improved gut health.
Apart from their complex carbs and fiber, sweet potatoes are VERY high in beta-carotene - a powerful antioxidant that converts to Vitamin A. Vitamin A helps with skin renewal, eye vision, and is linked to lower risk of colon and prostate cancers.
Back to hormones, especially female hormones (listen up ladies): the vitamin A boost that you get from these delicious veggies has proven helpful to maintain hormonal balance particularly during pregnancy and lactation. Also, sweet potatoes are rich in manganese, which is known to help with PMS and other hormonal imbalances, and plant-based iron, which has been shown to help boost fertility.
Sweet potatoes are one of the few plant-based sources of choline, which has been shown to help reduce chronic inflammation, and help with sleep, muscle movement, memory, and more.
Additionally, sweet potatoes contain a good amount of potassium, which is key for transporting nutrients to cells and removing waste (basically, without enough potassium your body just won’t function well), and helps stabilize high blood pressure.
Oh and I must throw in that they have plenty Vitamin C and B6, too. So yep, a nutritional powerhouse!
Lastly... What I'm sure you'll LOVE to hear is that they're even considered to be good for weight loss. Despite the high amount of carbs (for a vegetable), they're the good kind of carbs, and the lower calories and low glycemic index makes them an awesome "diet-friendly" replacement for potatoes. In my book, given the fiber, nutrients and antioxidants, they make for an amazing addition to almost any diet.
Hopefully now you realize that this delicious, sweet veggie is nothing short of amazing for your health, and a great lower-glycemic (and more nutritious) alternative to potatoes (and yams).
Unsure how to enjoy them?
My favorite way of eating sweet potatoes is baking them with a touch of coconut oil and sea salt, and for a savory version I'll add rosemary, while for a sweet version I'll add cinnamon. (Note: I bake them at 375-400 F for about 35-50 minutes depending on size of pieces, or full hour if whole).
Some of my other favorite ways to eat them include: Sweet Potato Mash (I make a yummy vegan version with garlic and rosemary), Sweet Potato Fries, Sweet Potato Noodles (using a spiralizer), Sweet Potato Fries (oh they're delish!), Sweet Potato Brownies, and a filling yet detox-friendly and hormone-balancing Sweet Potato Breakfast Bowl.
They're all amazing, so if you're interested in trying any of these and need my recipes, shoot me a message below! And of course, I'd love to hear your favorite ways to enjoy these delicious veggies.