Psst . . . St. Patrick's Day is next week! Scroll to the end of this post to find out how to get two exclusive St. Patrick's Day Instant Pot recipes delivered straight to your inbox—completely free.
Sometimes taste isn’t the best guide when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle. Just because something is delicious doesn’t necessarily mean your body will thank you later. I guess you could say that taste can be deceiving. On the other hand, it’s pretty awesome when you find a food that lights up your palate and then find out that it’s really healthy too!
One such food are sweet potatoes—red or purple specifically, if you can get them. Here’s the bottom line: They’re full of awesome flavor. If you’re a kid like me, you can probably just go pick a bag of them up and have a taste. If you want the nitty gritty on how amazingly healthy they are (and why you should aim for the red or purple variety) . . . keep reading.
Here’s why you need to add sweet potatoes to your shopping list right now.
Red or Purple = Gold
Walk into your local grocery store or farmers market and you can usually find various types of sweet potatoes. There are purple, red, yellow, and pale white. You want to grab the purple or red ones, if they’re available, even if you have to shell out a little extra to get them. Besides being the prettiest (I think), those colors signal which sweet potatoes are the most nutritious. Keep reading.
Sweet potatoes are rich in antioxidants, and with sweet potatoes you can tell because of—yup, you guessed it—color. The more intense the color of the sweet potato, the more antioxidants it has. Always choose a red or purple sweet potato. That way you get the most bang for your buck, and probably a lot more flavor too.
Sweet potatoes also contain vitamins A, B, and C, plus calcium and potassium, which works to relieve inflammation of the stomach. And if that wasn’t enough to convince you, these dietary superstars are also loaded with cancer-fighting carotenoids, antioxidants that fight free radicals. Health experts recommend eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables that contain lots of beta carotene—why not make sweet potatoes one of those servings?
Need I Say More?
Here are just some of the reasons reasons sweet potatoes are dietary superstars:
One of the best sources of vitamin A
The sweet potato, specifically the purple sweet potato, has been given the title of super food by countless organizations. A single medium-sized sweet potato provides more than 200 percent of the daily requirement for vitamin A. Do you really need me to keep going? Ok fine . . .
Eyesight, skin, and bones
That vitamin A we just talked about is also beneficial to eyesight, skin health, and bones. Vitamin A can help fight cataracts, slowing their growth. It can even prevent acne and is a powerful weapon against skin cancer. Sweet potatoes also have a healthy dose of vitamin C, which helps produce collagen for healthier, more supple skin.
Shake the weight
Potatoes are generally recommended as a food to avoid if you’re losing weight. However, sweet potatoes will not only keep your weight stable but will actually assist in weight loss! Sweet potatoes are brimming with fiber, which will keep you stay satiated longer and regulate your blood sugar.
Sweet potatoes contain magnesium, a necessary anti-inflammatory. Without enough magnesium, experts say that adults are at more of a risk for heart disease, diabetes, even certain cancers. But beyond that, getting enough magnesium can help reduce stress and promote relaxation. Most of the US adult population doesn’t receive enough magnesium from their diet, and sweet potatoes are one way to remedy that issue.
Fighting seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
Experts say that seasonal affective disorder (SAD) can often be linked to a deficiency in vitamin D. Guess what has lots of vitamin D? Sweet potatoes! Keep them in your diet during the cloudier times of the year and you just might find that your mood and energy levels improve.
Immune system support
Because of their antioxidant properties, sweet potatoes can help prevent infection in the digestive tract, urinary tract, and lungs. But sweet potatoes are also excellent for fighting off something much more common . . . colds. That hefty punch of vitamin A is perfect for warding off and preventing the annoying illness. And the other nutrients in sweet potatoes—vitamin C, vitamin B complex, iron, and phosphorus—is a combination that packs a one-two punch to oncoming ailments.
I have one word for you: fiber. Fiber in sweet potatoes is higher compared to other types of potatoes in general. And if you cook sweet potatoes with the skin on (please do) than a sweet potato has more fiber than a serving of oatmeal. Throw in a healthy dose of other minerals, such as magnesium, and it becomes clear why this food is the right choice for aiding digestion. It’s also an easy food to digest in the first place.
Vitamin C, iron, and the other nutrients in sweet potatoes can help cure bronchitis. Sweet potatoes are also believed to warm the body and aid in congestion.
All of that beta-carotene, magnesium, zinc ,and vitamin B complex makes sweet potato the right choice for tackling arthritis. You can even use the water you boiled your sweet potatoes in as a salve for aching joints. How cool is that?
Those who live with diabetes are often advised to avoid sugary foods, but that doesn’t actually apply to sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are effective for regulating blood sugar levels by bolstering insulin secretion and function. Of course, that doesn’t mean that those with diabetes can eat as many sweet potatoes as they’d like, no rules (can you really do that with anything?) but if you have diabetes, you may want to consider substituting sweet potatoes for your normal carbohydrate intake. The sugar in sweet potatoes is natural and releases slowly into the bloodstream, so you won’t have to worry about spikes in blood sugar.
Relieving stomach ulcers
Sweet potatoes have a comforting effect on the stomach and small intestine because of their anti-inflammatory properties. And the host of vitamins within sweet potatoes—vitamin B complex, vitamin C, beta carotene, potassium, and calcium—can effectively relieve inflammation in the stomach. And because of its fiber content, sweet potatoes can prevent constipation and accumulation of acid, decreasing the likelihood of gastric inflammation to begin with.
With so many fantastic benefits and a delicious flavor, what’s not to like?
How to Cook Them
And as far as actually cooking these awesome ingredients, there are tons of options. You can sautee them, fry them, boil them, steam them, bake them, mash them, puree them . . . they’re a super versatile ingredient. If you want some amazing paleo recipes with this phenomenal ingredient, just click here!
St. Patrick's Day Giveaway!
So, St. Patrick's Day is next week, and if you love corned beef or shepherd's pie as much as I do, you know they're reason enough for celebrating. Recently, I've become a big fan of using the Instant Pot to cook them, and I'd love to share both recipes with you. Just enter your email address below to get them in your inbox . . . instantly! (See what I did there?)