Sweet Potatoes – A Delicious Nutritious Treat

If you want a quick and easy satisfying snack, or a wonderful addition to any meal,  consider keeping sweet potatoes handy. I will often put 2 or 3 in the oven at 350 degrees for an hour and a half. Turn off, allow to cool, and then eat one, and keep the rest handy to warm up for a quick snack. Some people choose to prepare sweet potatoes in the microwave. Just puncture all around with a fork, and microwave for 5 to 8 minutes, depending on the size.

Sweet potatoes are actually in a very different plant family than white potatoes. While white potatoes are in the Night shade plant family ( like tomatoes and eggplants) , sweet potatoes are root tubers related to turnips, carrots and beets (also very healthy choices to add to your diet!) That is why when individuals choose to eliminate nightshades from their diet, which may help decrease inflammation and arthritis, they can keep eating sweet potatoes, but not white potatoes.

The word ‘Sweet Potato’ and “Yam” are often used interchangeably, although that is botanically incorrect. True yams are from a different plant family.. However, in the US, grocery stores will often have a sign that says “Yam” for some varieties of sweet potatoes. Garnet and Jewel varieties of sweet potatoes are sometimes labeled as yams, to differentiate them from other types that are also widely available. Unless you are seeking a true yam (which can often be found in the international food area, or at an ethnic grocery store), feel free to choose either one at your local store.

Sweet Potatoes definitely have a sweet flavor and a wonderful aroma that they emit while they are being cooked. This aroma fills your home and often conjures memories of happy family gatherings, which reduces stress and adds to health, just as much as the vitamins and minerals that are in this healthy food! Science has discovered that this sweet taste and aroma is due to an enzyme within the sweet potato that breaks down the starchy flesh into maltose. Maltose is a kind of sugar that imparts a sweet flavor, but does not raise blood sugar like sucrose or table sugar. In fact, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics , sweet potatoes are an ‘allowed food’ for diabetics!

Its easy to become a ‘kitchen chemist’ and control just how sweet your sweet potato dish is, by how you choose to cook it. If you cut the sweet potato up into small pieces, or cook it via steaming, it reduces how sweet it tastes. Science has discovered that the enzyme that creates maltose is activated at around 135 degrees,and slows down above 170 degrees. Therefore, for maximum sweetness, slow roast your sweet potatoes and use an oven thermometer to gauge the temperature.

Sweet potatoes are filling, delicious AND nutritious- high in Vitamin A, Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin B 5, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B 6, Niacin, and Minerals including manganese and magnesium.

So consider adding Sweet Potatoes to your Happy Health Routine !

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