Whenever I create a new meal, I just can’t wait to share information that will help promote optimal health, I am always eager to share it with all of you my heritage health family. This is especially true when it comes to heritage nutrition, as proper nutrition is one of the pillars of good health and wellness. Now, I am excited to share with you my simple homemade sweet potato smoothie recipe with you all but first, let me help you discover the unique attributes of this amazing food.
Sweet Potatoes: Health Benefits
Scientific studies and research have shown that these naturally-sweet root vegetables possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and disease-fighting components. Consuming sweet potatoes is an excellent way to obtain potent antioxidants like beta-carotene ( the pigment that gives fruits and vegetables their orange and red colors) for good for vision, immunity, and overall health.
Why are sweet potatoes vibrant in color?
Natural pigments called Carotenoids are responsible for the colorful appearance of sweet potatoes. Beta-carotene can help ward off free radicals that damage cells through oxidation, which can speed up aging and make you vulnerable against chronic diseases. This antioxidant can help support your immune system, as well as lower your risk of heart disease and cancer.
Beta-carotene can be converted into vitamin A by your body, and vitamin A which is a natural anti-inflammatory, can help get rid of acne-causing bacteria and contributes to optimal eye health and vision.
Purple sweet potatoes, on the other hand, contain anthocyanins, another type of natural pigments. Anthocyanins are associated with reduced cancer risk. Studies show they help suppress stomach, colon, lung, and breast cancer cell proliferation.They also prevent blood clots by stopping platelets from clumping together – a function that may help fight heart disease.
Sweet potatoes vary from regular potatoes, despite similarities in calorie, carbohydrate, and fiber content. Sweet potatoes are often considered healthier than the yams and regular potatoes because the calories and salt content of regular potatoes increase when they are fried. Regularly eating them fried may put you at risk of high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and stroke. This does not happen with sweet potatoes. Also, the varying colors (yellow, purple and orange) of sweet potatoes indicate the presence of antioxidants, another reason why they are superior to yams and regular potatoes and should be eaten more often.
Are Sweet Potatoes Safe for Diabetics and Pre-Diabetics?
Diabetes and pre-diabetes patients suffer from high blood glucose (blood sugar), either because insulin production is inadequate, or because the body’s cells do not respond properly to insulin, or both. These patients are advised to consume foods that would not release glucose at a rapid rate into the bloodstream.
Research show that sweet potatoes are a low-glycemic index (GI) food, that is, they release glucose very slowly into the bloodstream and benefit the pancreas by not overworking it and make you feel satiated longer. Also, sweet potatoes can help regulate blood sugar because of their ability to raise blood levels of adiponectin, a protein hormone created by your fat cells, to help regulate how your body metabolizes insulin.
Even if these findings exist, sweet potatoes should still be consumed in moderation. Keep in mind that the sweet potato is a naturally sweet food. If you’re a diabetic or are suffering from problems related to insulin resistance, consult your doctor to know whether it’s safe for you to consume sweet potatoes.
How to cook sweet potatoes to retain most of it’s nutrients
How we prepare our food is as important as the foods we chose to eat as this can greatly impact the quality of our meals. Sweet potatoes are no exception. Generally, in the African community, sweet potatoes are boiled, though this method is healtheir than deep frying, it is not recommended because boiling can destroy beneficial components. Steaming and baking improves the bioavailability of beta-carotene, making the antioxidant more accessible to your body.
Peeling can make the sweet potato’s flesh susceptible to oxidation, which can induce dark spots. It is recommended that sweet potatoes be steamed, baked, or placed in water immediately after peeling. Since beta-carotene is fat-soluble, I advise consuming sweet potatoes with fat – about three to five grams of fat is sufficient. Fat-soluble nutrients require fat to be absorbed effectively in your body. Puree sweet potatoes, along with cooked carrots, are ideal choices for infants starting with solid food.
Finally, you can enjoy sweet potatoes for breakfast in smoothies as the recipe below describes. It’s low-fat and low cholesterol.You wouldn’t regret giving this recipe a try.
Happy and healthy cooking xoxo
Sweet Potato Smoothie
1/2 Sweet Potato
1/2 Banana (frozen)
50g mixed Berries (for topping)
10g unsweetended Coconut (schredded for topping)
- Slice sweet potatoes, line parchment paper with a teaspoon extra virgin coconut oil and bake for 20 mins in the oven at 200 degrees.
- Set aside to cool.
- Blend sweet potatoes and banana in a food processor.
- Top with berries and enjoy!