Sweet potatoes are mighty orange spuds with nutrition and vitamins to spare. They're an excellent source of vitamins A and C, as well as fiber, potassium, protein and vitamin B-6, which an excellent reason to regularly incorporate sweet potatoes into your everyday diet.
Used to reaching for regular potatoes to go along with dinner? Think twice. Sweet potatoes contain more health benefits and fewer calories than regular potatoes. And don't pull out that vegetable peeler, either—one of the most powerful parts of the sweet potato is its skin. Peel it off before eating, and you’ll risk losing significant amounts of fiber and potassium.
Here are just a few more reasons why sweet potatoes should be a key ingredient in your diet:
- Sweet potatoes rank low on the glycemic index, which means it doesn't affect blood sugar as much as other foods. That makes sweet potatoes a good choice for those watching their blood sugar levels, such as diabetics.
- Potassium is a crucial mineral for proper bodily function, and sweet potatoes are packed with potassium (542 milligrams, to be exact).
- Not only does the beta-carotene in sweet potatoes give them their vibrant orange hue, but it also converts into vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is important for eye health, a strong immune system and a healthy complexion.
- Sweet potatoes are full of fiber, which helps prevent constipation and promote regular bowel movements.
Now that you know why you should add sweet potatoes to your diet, here are some simple ways to do it.
- Roast them. This brings out their natural flavor, eliminating the need for extra butter, salt or cream. Add some seasonings and pair them with a main dish.
- Microwave them. When you’re in a hurry, pop a sweet potato in the microwave for a few minutes. Make sure to prick it with a fork first, and remove it when soft. Then just drizzle it with olive oil or top it with some fat-free Greek yogurt, and you've got a filling, healthful snack or quick meal.
- Add them to a salad. Chopped roasted sweet potatoes make a great salad topping. (Throw another key ingredient, pecans, on your salad to add even more nutritional value and flavor.)
- Eat them for breakfast. Add some shredded sweet potatoes to your morning hash browns or pancakes for a fresh, healthy twist on breakfast.
Check out other key ingredients for inspiration on new foods to add to your healthy, well-rounded diet.