All the Colors of the Rainbow – Sweet Potatoes

NCI5_POTATO
NCI5_POTATO

This post is part of a new series for Bekah’s Bites. We will be sharing nutrition tips about colorful fruits and vegetables. Think about rainbow colors when you choose your produce because those bright shades not only mean better flavor, it means they contain healthy nutrients.

Sweet Potatoes

You are probably most familiar with those sweet potato casseroles that show up during the holidays smothered with butter, sugar and nuts. Well, there are many healthier ways to enjoy this vegetable powerhouse.

customer_service_101_back-01Sweet potatoes began their history in South America and were traded with the inhabitants of the Polynesian Islands. The vegetable thrived in the islands due to it being a reliable crop that would survive hurricane season. From there this vegetable traveled into Japan, Asia and New Zealand and become a staple in the cuisines of those areas. The orange-centered tuber then migrated from South America north into the United States in the mid-20th century. However, this nutrient-rich vegetable fell out of favor during the 20th century, new information about the vitamins and mineral it provides along with the popularity of certain eating plans has brought it back into the mainstream. It was even awarded The World Food Prize in 2016 because of its high nutrition value!

With a bright orange color, sweet potatoes are best known for Vitamin A (in the form of beta carotene) and potassium. These tubers rival carrots for Vitamin A and bananas for having the most potassium. This super food packs nutrients which help to:

  • Improve vision
  • Strengthen the immune system
  • Provide antioxidants for healthy skin
  • Increase muscle strength

sweet-potatoes-742283_960_720The holidays are just around the corner, but you don’t have to wait until then to enjoy this nutrient packed orange vegetable! Check back here and get ready to pick out some sweet potatoes for your Easy Friday Lunch!

Resources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweet_potato

http://www.nationalgeographic.com/people-and-culture/food/the-plate/2016/06/world-food-prize–why-sweet-potato-color-matters/

Cooking tip

Know the best way to get all those nutrients from a sweet potato? Bake? Fry? You guess it, they need to be boiled! This method brings out more vitamins and minerals and lowers the glycemic index (which means these veggies will not mess with your blood sugar levels!) Healthy soup, anyone?


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