Sweet potatoes are usually associated with Thanksgiving, but they have much to offer all year round. Sweet potatoes are rich in many different nutrients like vitamin C, magnesium, manganese, copper, potassium, B5, B6, niacin, biotin, thiamin, riboflavin, carotenoids and calcium, and so, not surprisingly, they have many health benefits. Beta-carotene, for example, is a precursor to vitamin A, which supports eye health. As a matter of fact, sweet potatoes can protect us from a wide range of degenerative disorders and diseases that affect our eyes, including night blindness. A few scientific studies have confirmed that sweet potato, or beta-carotene found in it to be more precise, lowers the risk of developing breast cancer. Potassium, a nutrient commonly deficient in American diet, lowers and stabilizes blood pressure. The electrolytes found in sweet potatoes help stabilize the heart rhythm too.
Interestingly, sweet potatoes contain unique root storage proteins, which have a high antioxidant activity, as high as 1/3 of that of glutathione, which is quite impressive. This fact, along with carotenoids and vitamin C make sweet potatoes a great antioxidant booster. They can increase quantity of breast milk in lactating women and remove toxins from the body.
The fiber in sweet potatoes promotes a healthy microbial environment in the colon and healthy bowel movements, scraping off and engulfing toxins and extra cholesterol for excretion. Also, while sweet potatoes do taste sweet and are starchy, a 3.5oz (100g) serving contains only 8.4g sugars and 90 calories. In addition, while it is starchy, it has anti-diabetic quality- according to animal studies, they can actually stabilize blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity.
Caution: eating too much sweet potato will cause indigestion and abdominal swelling. Everything in moderation!
Sweet potatoes vs. yams
If you are looking for the sweet potato soup recipe, you are probably wondering whether you can use yams instead. While it is true that yams are healthy and useful, experts agree that sweet potatoes are a better option. Sweet potatoes and yams look similar, but they are different inside. Yams have similar nutrients but in lower concentrations. In addition, sweet potatoes have more fiber. Vitamin A, vitamin B5, B6, niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, magnesium, and carotenoids are some of the nutrients found in sweet potatoes.
How to grind your own spices
Buying pre-ground spices from grocery stores is convenient, but they lose their potency and “zest” much faster. I have used a small coffee grinder for years designated just for the herbs and spices, and it takes seconds to grind the spice you need, so it is a very easy way to enjoy the robust fresh flavors when you need them. If you also have a chance to buy organic herbs and spices in bulk, you can save money and only buy small batches at a time. I transfer those to my glass spice containers right away. This is the most practical, economic and delicious way to use herbs and spices! Keep your herbs and spices away from heat and light. A cabinet next to the stove may not be the best idea!
Enjoy this delicious sweet potato soup! Looking for more recipes with functional nutrition benefits? Follow me on Pinterest!
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