Food of the week: sweet potatoes

sweet-potato-2

It might sound funny but not being born in the States, I first tried sweet potato only a few years ago.

When I was here for the first time my friend gave me to try some sweet potato fries she brought home with her from the restaurant. Since I stopped enjoying fries at the age 9 or so I obviously did not like them at all. The next introduction of sweet potato came in a form of a Thanksgiving meal (whatever this form is) and I thought I was done with trying this vegetable for good. Good thing I was mistaken and I did give it another shot.

Five years later I can’t imagine my life from October to April without sweet potatoes. When cooked right sweet potatoes do not only taste amazing, but also are really versatile. There are so many things to make with SW and to name a few: roasted cubes, baked fries or edges, baked whole to be loaded with other stuff, mashed, noodled, blended in a soup, used as a base for a desert, juiced (!), made as chips and the list goes on. My absolutely favourite way of cooking sweet potato is adding it to a stew along with fire roasted tomatoes.

Naturally sweet, not only sweet potatoes taste like dessert, but they also provide some surprising health benefits. For example:

  • Orange flesh of a sweet potato makes it one of nature’s unsurpassed sources of beta-carotene.
  • Particularly in purple-fleshed sweet potatoes antioxidant pigments are abundant. When passing through the digestive tract, sweet potato phytonutrients may be able to lower the potential health risk posed by heavy metals and oxygen radicals.
  • Anthocyanin and other color-related pigments in sweet potato are equally valuable for their anti-inflammatory health benefits. Quite fascinating is their impact on fibrinogen as well. Fibrinogen is one of the key glycoproteins in the body that is required for successful blood clotting. 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.
  • Many people think about starchy root vegetables as a food group that could not possibly be helpful for controlling their blood sugar. However, sweet potato is able to potentially improve blood sugar regulation  – even in persons with type 2 diabetes – in spite of their glycemic index eating of medium.

Fun facts:

1 cup of baked sweet potato provides with: 214% of DV Vitamin D, 52% Vitamin C, 50% manganese, 36% copper and a lot more.