Sweet potato…SWEET POTATO!

One of my all time favourite foods would have to be sweet potatoes! My love for sweet potatoes knows no bounds. I even made up my very own sweet potato song! It goes something like this: SWEET POTATO SWEET POTATO!!!!!!!!!! Yeah, that’s about it. With a tune, of course.

Sweet potatoes are grown all around the world. They are often associated with war-time and poverty because they are easy to obtain, grow, harvest and prepare.

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Why sweet potatoes? Because they’re so delish and comes with a truckload of nutrients that are good for you.

The HEALTH FACTS:

CARBS!

Many people have the idea that carbs are the enemy when it comes to losing weight. Well, not all carbs are bad carbs. You just need to eat the right carbs! The good ones are complex carbohydrates – SWEET POTATOES! As a runner, I need carbs to fuel my short and long runs. I don’t enjoy eating rice or noodles as much as bread. To switch things up (instead of eating bread EVERY DAY), I’ve added sweet potatoes into my daily meals. One cup of mashed sweet potatoes contain about 58 grams of carbohydrates. They are easily digested and will fuel you for at least an hour.  Sweet potatoes also act to regulate blood sugar levels. As they are slow digesting carbohydrates, sugars are released slowly into the blood stream preventing the sudden spike of insulin.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is good for both the eyes and the immune system. During training, the body weakens and the immune system goes down. One medium sized sweet potato will supply 100% of your daily needs, keeping your immune system up and running.

Beta-Carotene

This yellowish-orange tuber is a big hint of what it contains, you got that right – BETA-CAROTENE. Beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A, is an antioxidant. Like all antioxidants, they prevent the formation of free radicals through oxidation. Free radicals are capable of cell damage which could lead to the development of chronic diseases (heart diseases or cancer). Beta-carotene also protects your skin from the sun by deflecting harmful UV rays. They are also thought to prevent macular degeneration and vision loss.

Vitamin C

The familiar vitamin C is another powerful antioxidant. It prevents free radicals that are created through oxidative stress. They also have anti-ageing properties and are able to boost collagen formation, leaving your skin bright and smooth. Running puts a lot of stress on the body. It is always good to have vitamin C in your diet!

Anti-inflammatory

The anti-inflammatory properties are attributed to the purple sweet potato. Their deep rich purple tones come from the anthocyanin pigment. Studies have shown that they prevent unwanted inflammation by deactivating certain important inflammatory precursors (COX-2, iNOS). In our digestive tract, they are also capable of lowering the risk of oxygen radicals and heavy metals.

Manganese

A trace element, often overlooked, is involved in bone metabolism and the metabolism of carbohydrates.

ImageWhat I normally have for lunch: Salad, tuna, egg, avocado and… SWEET POTATO!

To reap the full benefits of this tuber, it is important to incorporate some fat in your diet. Some fat is needed for the efficient uptake of beta-carotene and vitamin A as they are fat soluble. One tablespoon of olive oil or some avocado would do the trick (3-5grams).

Sweet potatoes are so easy to prepare! Their natural sweetness allows you to consume them on their own. No sugar, salt or dressing needed! Roast or boil them and they are good to go! GOOGLE sweet potato and you’ll find a whole selection of different ways to incorporate them into your daily diet.

There is absolutely NO reason why SWEET POTATOES should not be on your plate! HAPPY EATING!

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