Photo of baked sweet potato courtesy 5aday.gov.
Last Updated February 2010
Sweet Potato Nutrition
Sweeten Up Some Already Sweet Treats
This is Page 1 of a two-page article. Click on the links below for other sweet potato dessert recipes; or return to the Vegetables main page for potato recipes.
Contrary to popular belief, sweet potatoes are not actually potatoes, but are only distantly related to them. Sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) are a member of the Morning Glory Family (Convolvulaceae), and when then plant is in flower, blooms resembling morning glories appear (see photo below).
Yet, sweet potatoes are as American as apple pie, as they have been grown by native Americans and subsequently cultivated in the southern U.S. since Colonial times. (Ever wonder what the difference is between a sweet potato and a yam? Click here to find out.)
Sweet Potato Nutrition
Sweet potatoes have long been ranked high in nutritional value, and provide a good source of dietary fiber, which helps to provide feelings of fullness and satiety to control food intake. While they're low in fat, sweet potatoes are a rich source of potassium, vitamins A and E, antioxidants and beta-carotene. Sweet potatoes, therefore, contain significant deterrents to heart disease and stroke, according to the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission.
A sweet potato plant in flower. If that flower
looks familiar, it’s because sweet potato is
part of the morning glory family. Photo
And unlike white potatoes, which have a high glycemic index and can cause a spike and an ultimate drop in blood sugar, sweet potatoes have a low glycemic index, which is beneficial for diabetics and others wanting to avoid glucose highs and lows. A low glycemic index is desirable, as it's a measure of how quickly glucose is absorbed after a person eats, how high glucose rises and how quickly it returns to normal.
Easy Ways To Add Sweet Potatoes To Your Diet
- Packing a baked sweet potato for lunch and topping it with plain or vanilla
yogurt or cinnamon-flavored applesauce.
- Adding peeled chunks to your favorite stew.
- Switching from potato chips to sweet potato chips.
- Peeling and cutting one into strips to eat with your favorite dip.
- Blending one into a breakfast smoothie.
- Substituting sweet potatoes in recipes calling for white potatoes or apples.
Or, if you prefer your sweet potatoes to be extra sweet, consider incorporating them into familiar desserts, like cheesecake or cobbler. Click the black links above for recipes to discover how you can transform this vegetable into after-dinner delights, or check out the marbled sweet potato cheesecake recipe on the next page.
Continue To Page 2: Sweet Potato Cheesecake Recipe
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Information, recipe and photo courtesy of the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission. Other material