The potato… a versatile, delicious staple food that has become associated with the obesity epidemic. But not all potatoes are ‘bad’… in fact, none are bad if eaten in moderation and how nature intended! Furthermore, not all potatoes are created equal. The sweet potato stands out as a nutrient-dense, powerful antioxidant superfood that we all need more of!
The sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) is an underground tuber. They are rich in an antioxidant called beta carotene, which is converted to an active form of vitamin A (retinol) once ingested. Vitamin A is required for cell production and growth. An increased intake of vitamin A may help to increase healthy skin cell production, and sweet potato gives you a whopping 400% of the recommended daily intake!
Sweet potatoes contain vitamin C, which is both an antioxidant and vital in the production of collagen. Collagen is the main component in the skin and other connective tissues, including hair and nails.
Anthocyanins are another highly bioavailable nutrient in sweet potatoes that can have anti-ageing properties. Anthocyanins are a type of flavonoid antioxidant. Antioxidants can have anti-ageing properties because they neutralise molecules called free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can cause oxidative stress (damage) to cells. Cellular damage can occur at all tissue levels and can increase the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, not to mention other health and digestive issues.
Obtaining antioxidants from dietary sources may help prevent long term health problems. The fibre content in sweet potatoes can help prevent constipation and promote regularity for a healthy digestive tract, which also aids in weight loss and weight maintenance.
Sweet potatoes are a source of many different nutrients that can improve skin, hair and gut health! This delicious vegetable is worth incorporating into everyday meals, and like the regular potato, it is extremely versatile. When buying and cooking sweet potatoes, it is important to check that the potato is firm with smooth, taut skin. Also, always store them in a cool, dry place for no longer than 3–5 weeks. So, get frying, baking, or boiling with sweet potatoes and reap the health benefits! Check out this delicious recipe below!
Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Soup Recipe:
This thick soup tastes naughty, but is all kinds of nice to your gut health. Proving nutritional value through the abundance of vitamins, mineral and antioxidants in its key ingredients, this easy to make soup is perfect served warm or cold on those Autumn nights!
1 can (BPA-free) coconut milk
900ml chicken or vegetable broth
2 large sweet potatoes (peel if using non-organic potatoes or if you like creamier texture)
1 small head of cauliflower
1 small onion
4 cloves of garlic
2 tbs coconut or avocado oil
1 tbs curry powder
¼ tsp cayenne powder
1 tbs sour cream
Salt, pepper & thyme to taste
1. Finely chop garlic and onion and add to a large pot with 2 tbs of oil, the curry and cayenne powders. Heat on medium-high heat for 5–10 minutes until the onion is translucent and beginning to brown.
2. Wash and chop sweet potatoes into 1⁄2 inch cubes and cut cauliflower into small florets. Add to the pot after the initial 5–10 minutes have passed along with the coconut milk and broth.
3. Bring soup to a boil then reduce heat and simmer on the stovetop for 30 minutes. Once the sweet potatoes and cauliflower are tender, puree the soup with an immersion blender until smooth.
4. Pour soup into a deep bowl and add a dollop of sour cream.
5. Add salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle with thyme. Serve or keep in the fridge for up to five days.