1. Sweet Potato + Olive Oil = A: Sweet potatoes on their own are nutritious, but the absorption of the abundance of beta-carotene in this vegetable is enhanced by pairing with a healthy fat, like a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil per serving just before serving. Beta-carotene, which acts like vitamin A in the body, helps with prevent night blindness, enhance the immune system, and prevent colds.
2. An "Antidiabetic" Starch: Sweet potatoes are a starchy vegetable, but unlike any variety of white potatoes (which are in a completely different food family), a healthy serving of sweet potatoes have been shown to stabilize blood sugar levels and improve the response to insulin. (1) This is a coup for anyone who has any sort of blood sugar sensitivity.
3. Eases Inflammation: Inflammation can happen anywhere in the body, not just the joints. Sweet potatoes have been shown to ease inflammation in brain tissue and nerves. Color-related pigments, yielding beneficial antioxidants like Anthocyanin, are to thank.
Looking for an easy holiday (or anytime) recipe using sweet potatoes. Try these healthy Baked Sweet Potato Croquettes. Served with just a little bit of real maple syrup, they're delicious.
(1) Murray, M. T., Pizzorno, J. E., & Pizzorno, L. (2005). The encyclopedia of healing foods. New York: Atria Books.
(2) WHFoods: Sweet potatoes. (n.d.). The World's Healthiest Foods. Retrieved November 7, 2011, from http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=64