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Vegetable of the Week #14: Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes have always been one of my favorite vegetables. I love them even more knowing how nutritious they are! Just one cup of this baked root vegetable has 6 grams of fiber, 769% of the adult daily value (DV) of vitamin A, 65% of the adult DV of vitamin C (hello, flu season!), and 29% of the DV of potassium among many other nutrients.

Sweet potatoes are rich in cancer-protective antioxidants. A study on purple sweet potatoes linked here showed that the antioxidants therein promoted the proliferation of healthy intestinal bacteria including Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus species. These are two very important species of bacteria as they can help protect you and your children from getting infectious diarrhea.

Sweet potatoes contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. The flesh of the sweet potato has mostly soluble fiber. And with their color, it is no surprise that a cup of orange sweet potato contains many times the daily value of beta carotene, just like carrots discussed here.

Don't forget to try other colors of sweet potatoes as well - there are hundreds of varieties total with varying degrees of starchy flesh and sweet flavor.

Compared with white potatoes, sweet potatoes have more fiber, more vitamin A, more vitamin C, fewer calories and fewer total carbohydrates.

There are a variety of ways to incorporate sweet potatoes into your diet. Try some of the following this week:

1) Substituting sweet potato fries for fries made from white potatoes is one easy way. Many restaurants now allow this substitution.

2) Substituting sweet potato chips for regular chips.

3) Baked or microwaved sweet potatoes as a side dish: Just line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, rinse potatoes, poke a few holes in them, and bake at 400F for about an hour. Sweet potatoes are not easy to overcook, so you can leave them in a little while longer to develop even more sweet flavor.

The biggest decision when cooking sweet potatoes is whether you want them to have a sweet flavor or a savory flavor. For a savory flavor, add a little chili powder and salt. For a sweet flavor, add cinnamon and brown sugar substitute, like monk fruit sweetener. Sweet potatoes are excellent with southern European butter.

Enjoy and have a wonderful day!

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