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Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes
According to the USDA’s national nutrient database, one medium, baked sweet potato with skin (2 inches in diameter, 5 inches long, approximately 114 grams) provides: Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A, have 103 calories, 0 grams (g) of fat. 24 g of carbohydrate, including 4 grams of fiber and 7 grams of sugar, 2.3 grams of protein. One medium sweet potato will provide well over 100 percent of your daily needs for vitamin A, as well as: 25 percent of vitamin C, 25 percent of vitamin B6, 12 percent of potassium
Sweet potatoes are a great source of beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant that gives orange fruits and vegetables their vibrant color. Beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A in the body. Consuming foods rich in beta-carotene may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer, offer protection against asthma and heart disease, and delay aging and body degeneration.
Keep the skin on! The color of sweet potato skin can vary from white to yellow and purple to brown but, no matter what color it is, make sure you do not peel it off. A sweet potatoes skin contributes significant amounts of fiber, potassium, and quercetin.
Avoid buying sweet potatoes with soft skin or wrinkles, cracks, or soft spots. Store in a cool, dry place for up to 3 to 5 weeks.
Roast sweet potatoes to bring out their natural flavor. There is no need to add in marshmallow topping or loads of butter; sweet potatoes have a naturally sweet and creamy taste that can be enjoyed all on its own. To add a little spice without extra calories, try sprinkling on cinnamon, cumin, or curry powder.
The fastest way to prepare a sweet potato is in the microwave. Prick the potato with a fork, wrap in a paper towel, and then microwave on high until soft. Make sure to let it cool for several minutes, and then drizzle with olive oil or top with fat-free plain Greek yogurt.
Try adding roasted sweet potatoes and pecans to a salad and top with balsamic vinegar. You can also try adding sweet potato to pancakes or hash browns.
Written by Megan Ware