Sweet potato is really sweet to eat or snack, but what health benefits it has will really surprise you. Sweet potatoes have a creamy texture and a sweet-spicy flavor. There are two types, one with bright orange flesh, and the other with pale cream flesh.
Nutrition index and benefits of sweet potatoes
Contains Vitamin C, which helps to cure/ knock out cold and flu viruses. It also has an important role in digestion, cell formation and bone/tooth formation. It produces collagen which helps to stay our skin young and healthy. Helps to reduce stress.
Contains Vitamin D, which is important to build our immune system, energy lever, healthy heart, bone, hair, nerve and skin. It also helps to regulate the thyroid gland.
Contains Iron, which regulates metabolism, produces red and white blood cells, reduces stress and boosts energy.
Contains Potassium, which helps in reducing swelling, relaxes muscle contraction, protects our kidneys, regulates heart beat and nerve signals.
Contains Carotene, which is a source of Vitamin A. Powerful anti-oxidants that helps to ward off cancer, improves eye sight and protects from the illness of aging.
Contains Manganese, which our body needs for bone health, and also to protect our cells from the damage caused by stress.
Thiamin is a B-vitamin that our nervous systems need to function properly, and sweet potato seems to have that too in it.
Now who would not want to eat sweet potato!?
Sweet potatoes for toddlers
Sweet potatoes are also a super food for toddlers. Here is a snapshot of the benefits:
Studies show that you get the complete goodness when you eat steamed sweet potatoes. But there are other interesting ways to make the tuber a yummy food to eat.
How to include Sweet potatoes in your diet
Sweet potato fries
Rinse and clean the sweet potato nicely. Cut it length wise into thin pieces (like French fries). Marinate the cut pieces with salt for 15-20 mins.
Fill the pan with required amount of oil, deep fry the marinated pieces until brown in color. Take it out from oil and drain excess oil by putting it on tissue paper. Add chili powder/ pepper powder and serve it hot.
Sweet potato patty/ tikki
Rinse the potato in water and steam it in a pressure cooker until it’s become soft (4 whistles recommended). Strain the extra water and peel the skin off. Mash the tuber until it becomes a paste. Add chili powder/green chilli, oil, chat masala, lillte amount of wheat flour, lemon juice and salt to the mashed potato and mix the contents.
Shape the mixture like patty/tikki and roll it on bread crumbs if required. If bread crumbs are not available, you can roll it on roasted white rava.
Take a pan and heat oil in it. Slowly fry the patties until its brown in color. Once done, you can serve it with sauce or green chutney.
Sweet potato Halwa
Rinse and steam the sweet potato in pressure cooker and leave it for 4-5 whistles. Or you can also microwave the potatoes for 7 mins. Peel the skin, mash it and keep it aside.
Take a pan (preferably non-stick pan) and heat 3 spoons of oil /ghee. Add the mashed potatoes, fry it for a minute. Then add required amount of milk, cardamom and sugar to the mixture. Keep stirring until it becomes thick. Make sure that it does not become fully dry.
You can garnish the dish with saffron or whatever nuts your family likes. Serve it hot.
Gardening alert: Growing Sweet potatoes in your kitchen garden can be quite easy. Even a piece of the creeper can be cut and planted in soil. Kitchen waste can be added for manure and in a few months, this low maintenance plant would be ready for harvest.
Who should not eat sweet potatoes?
Every food is good for some and bad for some. As the old adage goes, what is food to one, is poison to another. Most of us who follow natural remedies blindly assume that anything that is natural can be consumed by all. However, this is not true. Before you decide to follow a natural remedy, check if it is right for you. Sweet potatoes albeit a superfood may not be the best option for those:
- Who have Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes – But if you do not over-eat, this is just fine.
- Who are trying to cut down on carbs – again this is a lifestyle choice and the note here is because sweet potatoes are high in carbohydrates.
- Those with a heart condition and chronic diseases should refrain from eating large quantities of sweet potatoes since these are high in sodium content. But when consumed in moderation, it is good for you.
Ayurveda reference: Vata Dosha which primarily is issues such as constipation, gas, anxiety, worry, sleep issues, and restless thoughts can be pacified by using a sweet potato recipe – Kitchari. This recipe is considered to be detoxifying an it involved cooking mashed sweet potatoes with spices and Basmati rice. Please refer this link for the full recipe.