Sweet, Savory, and Healthy….who ever thought that would be a combination! The sweet potato is something that should not just be eaten during the holidays piled with sugar and marshmallows!
Sweet potatoes come in different varieties. Skin and flesh colors range from cream all the way to a dark pink or purple. As usual, the darker the color the more nutrients! In this case, the darker varieties have more cancer fighting carotenoids (FYI, there are more than 600 different carotenoids discovered so far and they are all cancer fighters).
One of the World’s Healthiest Foods!
Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene, a very good source of vitamin C, and a good source of potassium, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), iron, manganese, lutein, zeaxanthin and copper. They are on the Worlds Healthiest Foods list, so make sure they are on your shopping list!
One of the best things about this vegetable is that for a medium sized potato (5 in. long and 2 in. diameter), it’s only about 95 calories, not to mention all the vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals it has too. If possible, include the skin in your recipes, as it has three times the amount of nutrients compared to the flesh.
Herbs and Spices Are Cancer Fighters Too!
When I teach advise clients on how to optimize their nutrition and create a ‘cancer fighting diet’, I tell them that the basis to a ‘cancer fighting diet’ are phytochemicals. The more phytochemicals you can get each day, the better! Phytochemicals are found only in unprocessed or minimally processed plant foods.
In addition to fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, spices are another great source of phytochemicals. All different types are beneficial, as they each have their own unique nutrient profile. Spices are plant foods and have concentrated levels of phytochemicals. That’s why you get a good benefit without having to use a large volume.
Two spices that go really well with sweet potatoes are cinnamon and chili powder. And yes – sometimes you use them both in a recipe! Both spices are good sources of carotenoids, including beta carotene, alpha carotein, lutein and zeanxanthin. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, carotenoids may inhibit cancer cell growth, work as antioxidants and improve immune response.
Here is one of my favorite sweet potato recipes to get you started for the weekend!
Savory Sweet Potato Burritos
- 2 small onions, sliced thin
- 3 medium poblano peppers, sliced thin
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, rough spots removed, cut into strips
- 1½ T oil
- ½ t salt
- 1 15 oz. can black beans
- 8 oz. plain Greek yogurt
- 1 lime
- chili powder, to taste
- 8 whole wheat tortillas
- Place sweet potato strips into microwave safe bowl, add ¼ cup water and cook for 8-10 minutes, until all pieces are soft.
- While sweet potato is cooking, stir fry onions and peppers in oil on the stove over medium high heat, until onions are soft.
- Layer burritos in the tortilla with yogurt, chili powder, sweet potato, onion, peppers and black beans. Squeeze ⅛ of lime over the contents and wrap.
- Makes 8 servings.
What’s your favorite way to eat sweet potatoes?