All about sweet potatoes

sweet potatoes

Are Sweet Potatoes and Potatoes the Same Thing?

Sweet potatoes are starchy root vegetables native to South America. They thrive in humid and moist weather conditions and they grow in different varieties including color variations: red, yellow, orange or purple. Sweet potatoes look like regular potatoes and may even be mistaken for potatoes. While they share similar characteristics and they are both tuberous foods, they originate from two different plant families. Potatoes belong to the Solanaceae, also known as the deadly nightshade, family. All of the leaves and stems of the plants are poisonous. Sweet potatoes are part of the flowering plants called the morning glory family.  Unlike potatoes, the leaves of the plant are edible. Sweet potatoes and potatoes also have a different taste. As the name says, sweet potatoes are slightly sweet.

Nutritional Value of Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are rich in fiber as well as containing several vitamins and minerals including B vitamins, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium, and selenium. They are also a great source of an antioxidant known as beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A when consumed.

The recommended daily amount of fiber for an average adult is 25 grams. In each medium sweet potatoes, there is about 6.6 grams of fiber. They contain soluble fiber which absorbs water and forms a gel-like substance as it moves through our gastrointestinal tract. The gel-like substance it forms help slow the passage of food and helps us feel full for longer. Soluble fiber has also been found to help lower cholesterol, reduce risk of heart disease and regulate blood glucose levels. Sweet potatoes also contain insoluble fiber, which bulks up our stool and help it move through the digestive tract. This helps reduces our risk for constipation, diverticulosis and hemorrhoids.

The phytochemicals (naturally occurring plant chemicals) and antioxidants found in sweet potatoes may have health promoting effects such as boosting our immune system, fighting viruses and other pathogens, controlling inflammation, inhibiting tumor growth, protecting against effects of aging.

Sweet potatoes are not only readily available, versatile and generally inexpensive, they are also delicious! Whichever variety you decide to eat, they are packed with many health benefits to them, so enjoy them and know you’re doing good for your body!

Crispy Sweet Potato Wedges Recipe

Approximate prep time: 10 minutes
Approximate cook time: 40-45 minutes

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled or unpeeled and cut into wedges
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking pan with tinfoil (shiny side up) and set aside.
2. Wash the sweet potatoes well. Keep them peeled or unpeeled. Slice the sweet potatoes into wedges.
3. Place the sweet potato wedges in a large bowl, then add the olive oil, salt, sugar, Italian seasoning, and black pepper. Mix them all together and make sure each wedge is coated with the oil and spices mixture.
4. Arrange the sweet potato wedges in a single layer on the lined baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Then for them to turn slightly brown and crispy, turn on the broiler for another 3-5 minutes. Watch closely, as the potatoes may burn if the broiler is on for too long.
5. Remove the sweet potato wedges from the oven. Allow them to cool on the pan for a few minutes then serve!

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