Sweet potatoes often get a bad rap because they are a carbohydrate. Carbs, of course, make you fat and are the direct reason why you can’t lose weight, right? Absolutely not! Carbs are, arguably, the most important macronutrient because they give you the energy to fulfill your day and get a great workout in. When the wonderful sweet potato is your choice of carb, they are even better!
So why is the sweet potato so great as opposed to a regular baked potato? To start, sweet potatoes have a lower glycemic index than other potatoes and various carbs. This means that they will not spike your insulin levels as much. When trying to lose weight and stay healthy, this is extremely important. Foods with a higher glycemic index are those that get converted into simple sugars faster (ex: white bread, candy, french fries). When there is an overabundance of simple sugar release, too much sugar is taken in resulting in a rise in blood sugar level. When this happens, your body can’t break down the sugars and the leftover is stored as fat. That’s the opposite effect that you’re looking for in my opinion. But because you DO need some sugars to balance your levels and not lead yourself into starvation mode, it’s crucial to understand which foods can help do that. Sweet potatoes actually help to regulate your blood sugar level and steady the pace of digestion because of their amount of fiber. This, alone, can help to regulate your hormones and trigger your body to burn stored fat all while increasing your metabolism.
Sweet potatoes are packed with nutrients. Orange sweet potatoes have beta-carotene, which your body converts into vitamin A, an essential vitamin. Not only is beta carotene an antioxidant, but it can also help your vision and decrease risk of cancer. Did you know there are purple sweet potatoes, too? These also have special antioxidants, such as anthocyanin, and are abundant in phytonutrients because of their vibrant color, both of which help to lower inflammation and health risks caused by heavy metals and free radicals. Luckily, for those who don’t care for the skin of potatoes, these nutrients are more abundant in the flesh. Regardless of what color (white, cream, yellow, orange, pink, or deep purple), by eating these delicious vegetables, you’re getting a lot of vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese, vitamin B1, B2, B3, & B6, biotin (great for hair and nails ladies!), potassium, fiber, and phosphorus.
When choosing your sweet potatoes make sure they are firm and don’t have any cracks, bruises, or soft spots. Store them in a cool, dark place for about 10 days and don’t let their long cook time steer you away! By cutting them into small cubes and sautéing, steaming, or roasting, the cook time under 10 minutes. When you have a little longer to prepare them, hundreds of delicious recipes can be found so you can experience the many forms of the sweet potato. Here are some examples. Get to cooking and enjoy!! (Remember that you can substitute vegetable oil for coconut oil for a healthier option)
Baked sweet potato fries- http://www.food.com/recipe/oven-roasted-sweet-potato-fries-497715
Cajun style baked sweet potatoes- http://allrecipes.com/recipe/35878/cajun-style-baked-sweet-potato/
Chili roasted sweet potato nuggets- http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/chili-roasted-sweet-potato-nuggets
Mashed sweet potatoes- http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/favorite-mashed-sweet-potatoes
Soy glazed sweet potatoes- http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/soy_glazed_sweet_potatoes.html