If you were to design the world’s most perfect food, what would you put in it? In addition to great taste, you’d be sure it contained a powerhouse of nutrients, good source of dietary fiber, fat and cholesterol free, low sodium, and easy to prepare. It’s the sweet potato!
- They are a first-rate provider of vitamin A and beta carotene, both of which promote healthy skin, hair and eyesight. A serving of Sweet Potatoes has four times the recommended daily allowance for beta carotene.
- Sweet potatoes also contain significant amounts of vitamins C and are a fair source of vitamin E. One medium sweet potato provides nearly half of your daily requirement of vitamin C.
- Sweet Potatoes are also a great source of dietary fiber. When eaten with the skin, they offer more fiber than oatmeal!
- With all this for only about 120 calories per medium sweetpotato, you’ve got to admit it would be hard to find a food with a better all-around package.
Recently, Sweet Potatoes took top honors in two surveys focusing of the nutritional benefits of vegetables.
- In the first, The Nutrition Action Health Letter rated 58 vegetables from artichokes to winter squash, adding up the percentages of recommended daily allowances for six nutrients (vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, iron, copper and calcium,), plus fiber. Sweet potatoes scored a whopping 582; its nearest competitor, a raw carrot, came in at 434. The baked potato rated a paltry 114.
- In the second survey the consumer watchdog group, Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), rated the relative nutritional value of common vegetables based on their content of fiber, complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins A and C, iron and calcium. Once again, the sweetpotato came out on top with a score of 184 compared to a similarly prepared potato, which came in at 83. Carrots, the self-proclaimed beta carotene king, scored only 30.
If you’re familiar with them only as a fat-loaded, overly-sweet Thanksgiving side dish, you’ll be amazed at how much more Sweet Potatoes can be! A great staple to keep on hand in the kitchen, they can be baked, microwaved, steamed, boiled, sautéed or grilled.