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Healthy Corner: Sweet Potato

What is a sweet potato?

The sweet potato is a starchy, sweet-tasting root vegetable. They have a thin, brown skin on the outside with coloured flesh inside – most commonly orange in colour, but other varieties are white, purple or yellow. You can eat sweet potatoes whole or peeled, and the leaves of the plant are edible too.

They may both be called ‘potatoes’, but sweet and white potatoes are not actually related. Botanically, the sweet potato belongs to the bindweed or morning glory family, whereas the white potato sits in the nightshade family.

Sweet PotatoNutritional value of sweet potato

Sweet potatoes are a rich source of fibre as well as containing an array of vitamins and minerals including iron, calcium, selenium, and they’re a good source of most of our B vitamins and vitamin C. One of the key nutritional benefits of sweet potato is that they’re high in an antioxidant known as beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A once consumed. Add a drizzle of olive oil just before serving to increase your absorption of beneficial beta-carotene.

Learn more about why we need fibre, vitamins and minerals.

80g of sweet potato, or about one medium potato, counts towards one of your five-a-day, unlike white potato which does not. Take a look at our infographic to find out what counts as 5-a-day.

Great ways to incorporate Sweet Potato into your diet:

  • Try munching on sweet potato chips. Thinly slice a large sweet potato and brush lightly with olive oil. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until lightly browned and crisp.
  • Dice cooked, peeled sweet potatoes and drizzle with maple syrup for a side dish that’s sure to satisfy any sweet tooth.
  • Cut thin slices of cooked sweet potatoes and add to your favorite sandwich or wrap instead of tomatoes.
  • Pancakes! Breakfast is sure to be a hit when you make sweet potato pancakes. Recipe Sweet Potato Pancakes with Apple-Walnut Topping
  • Substitute sweet potatoes for regular spuds in your favorite potato salad recipe.
  • Grill ’em! Slice sweet potatoes into thick ½ inch rounds and grill until lightly browned.
    Drizzle with lime juice.
  • Sweet potato fries make a delicious treat. Quarter sweet potatoes and drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 400 degrees for 40-60 minutes. For a spicy twist, add a dash of cayenne pepper.
  • Sweet potatoes make sweet salad toppings. Combine diced sweet potatoes, pineapple tidbits, apples, celery, and cashews. Serve over salad greens. Recipe Gingered Sweet Potato-Apple Salad
  • Mash ’em! Steam peeled sweet-potato chunks for about 10 minutes until tender, and mash with a dash of orange juice.
  • Bake, Roast, or Steam ’em! Pick a cooking method and enjoy! Use whole, unpeeled sweet potatoes as a side dish to any meal.

Check out an my easy recipe for Herb Roasted Sweet Potatoes.


Study supports link between healthful diet, healthy gut microbiota

A new study out of the University Medical Center Groningen in the Netherlands details the type of diet that was found to fuel the growth of healthy gut bacteria, particularly strains that have anti-inflammatory effects in the body. The results aren’t terribly surprising — that is to say, you’ll have to eat a healthy diet if you want a healthy gut. Among other things, the study found that high amounts of sugar and meat make things worse.

SlashGear (10/21)


Study: Healthful foods generally good for environment too

A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences ranked the health and environmental effects of 15 different food groups, finding that generally, foods that promote good health also are better for the environment. The study did find some foods, such as sugar-sweetened beverages, may be considered bad for health but not have a significant effect on the environment, while eating fish may be good for health but is not as good for the planet as a plant-based diet.

HealthDay News (10/28),  National Public Radio (10/28) 


Food for Thought

“The automatic things you do are basically those things that keep you from doing the better things you need to do.” – Bill Murray, actor

“You can have the nine greatest individual ball players in the world, but if they don’t play together the club won’t be worth a dime.” -Babe Ruth, baseball player

“Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.” – Og Mandino, American author


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