By Nina Pucillo
Ahh, the beloved sweet potato, one of my favorite foods! So how nutritious is this super-tuber, anyway? Sweet potatoes are not classified as a superfood but they certainly are very nutritious! Bright color in a vegetable always is a signal for lots of nutritional value. Vegetables that have orange flesh, like sweet potatoes or carrots are very high in vitamin A. Take a look at this short nutritional breakdown for sweet potato:
Nutrients in 1 Medium Sweet Potato:
Protein 2 grams
Carbohydrates: 24 grams (8% of RDA)
Fiber: 4 grams (15% of RDA)
Vitamin A: 438% of RDA
Vitamin B6: 16% of RDA
Vitamin C: 37% of RDA
Manganese: 28% of RDA
Potassium: 15% of RDA
Inflammatory Factor: Moderately Anti-Inflammatory
You will notice that sweet potatoes are moderately anti-inflammatory and that’s good, but the question is why? Sweet potatoes are high in antioxidant vitamins such as vitamins such as vitamins A and C. One the functions of antioxidants is that they neutralize free radicals in the body, which can reduce inflammation in the body. When a food has these highly antioxidant attributes, the food is considered to have anti-inflammatory properties. Controlling inflammation through what you eat is important to optimum health.
Sweet potatoes are ‘easy’ nutrition. One of the reasons being that they are readily available all year long! They are low in price and have a long shelf life.
This super-tuber is versatile too! Sweet potatoes are simple to bake and can be taken to work easily. Just prick the tuber with a fork several times and place the potato in the center of a preheated 350-degree oven for about 45 minutes. I actually bake mine while I am getting ready, and viola – a great portable side-dish. Sweet potatoes are so much more that just a side dish to me, and this super-tuber can be used many different ways! Sweet potatoes can be cooked into everything from soups to side-dishes to sweets!
One of my favorite sweet potato recipes is, of course, a dessert: Sweet Potato Cheesecake. I made these marvelous mini-cakes last week for a dinner party and they were a hit! They are easy-to-make, low calorie, delicious and nutritious! Each delectable mini-cake offers 86% of the RDA for vitamin A for just 200 itty-bitty calories per serving! Not bad for dessert! So indulge yourself with a guilt-free dessert once in a while. Sweet potatoes are the way to make your dessert antioxidant-rich!
Look for this sweet and satisfying root vegetable from your local farmer’s on Pick-A-Pepper, at your local farmer’s market, or in the produce section. See how many wonderful dishes you can create, your body will thank you for it!
Nina Pucillo is the creative director and managing partner of ninacucina.com, a video-based website where Nina teaches her subscribers how to prepare sensually gratifying, nutritionally dense meals. Nina, also an author, has just released her cookbook: Nina Cucina Your Healthy Gourmet. Nina also has a cooking show on KPSP 2, the CBS affiliate in the Coachella Valley of California which airs Mondays from 12 – 12:30 p.m.
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