Roasted Sweet Potato Hunks of Loving Goodness for Your Body

Sweet Potatoe, Oh Sweet Potatoes!

My fiancé is the source of this Good Eat. He is my Sweet Potato – even more so when he makes these Roasted Sweet Potato Hunks.  He is a master of the grill. Even in the winter, he will grill these up. When we run out of gas, he consents to Roasting them in the oven, sweetie that he is. Me – I don’t grill. I roast. So whatever your preference – try these sweeties out.

Ingredients:

Sweet Potatoes – ½ to 1 per person

Olive Oil

Salt or Season Salt

A cooking device of your choice. We are going to talk about ovens and grills, but feel free to morph.

Instructions:

Cut sweet potatoes length wise into slices 3/8th – ½ inch thick.

Brush or spray with olive oil

Sprinkle with salt.

Cook until center is soft, and outside is slightly browned: Grill on medium 15-30 minutes, checking every 5-10 minutes. Or in an Oven at 350 for 30 – 45 minutes, broil the tops if necessary. One cheat step is to microwave them a few minutes, after you slice, oil and salt them.

Comments:

I personally love them browned to slightly blackened. Given our lack of carbs; potatoes and grains, these babies save me very often. I can eat them without having the cravings I usually get after most carbs.  And they are so sweet, this way.  They are like candy – honestly!

My dog, who lived to be 20, loved sweet potatoes. When we planted the he let us know when they were ready, digging them up just the day before I was ready, or stealing them out of the wheel barrow if I forgot them.

Even in Michigan, I am able to grow some sweet potatoes (apparently for my dog). The trick is to find a nursery that stocks them or to order them at the right time. They are not frost tolerant.

Other ways to incorporate sweet potatoes: add sweet potatoes and nuts to your salad, make sweet potatoe oven baked chips or roasted fries ( Love these too), make a sweet hummus.

Facts about Sweet Potatoes

Random Facts: Sweet potatoes are swollen roots of goodness, whereas regular potatoes are underground stems (tubers).

Sweet potatoes are native plants of Central and South America. They have been grown for over 10,000 years.

Christopher Columbus took sweet potatoes to Europe after his first voyage to the New World in 1492. They were grown commercially in the United States by the 1500’s. George Washington grew sweet potatoes at Mount Vernon. George Washington Carver – remember him and peanuts? Great Guy!  He developed 118 products from sweet potatoes, including molasses, synthetic rubber, glue for postage stamps and ink. (He was Amazing!)

North Carolina’s official state vegetable is the sweet potato.

I love North Carolina!

You can wear shorts at least one day every month, all year round, yet it has snow, oceans, and a beautiful drawl! Oh the green of it all!

VARIETIES

There are two varieties of sweet potatoes, firm and soft. The first variety to be grown was the Firm variety, and it was called….sweet potato. When the second variety, the soft variety, started to be grown, it needed a name to designate it. Since these soft sweet potatoes resembled yams of Africa, African slaves called them yams, and later the US Agriculture department took that designation.

They are not, however, yams, which you are unlikely to find in any supermarket, except perhaps a small international market. They are just the soft variety of sweet potato. Yams and sweet potatoes are not even botanically related. Sweet potatoes are in the morning glory family (– who knew! I didn’t!) Yams are related to lilies and grasses. (Again- who knew!)

Colors: In the United States, the orange variety is the most common, however, they also come in white, yellow, pink and purple varieties. The orange and yellow pack the most vitamin A, while the purple sort is great for antioxidants.

While both African yams and American sweet potatoes are fine foods, sweet potatoes have higher concentrations of most nutrients and more fiber, providing greater nutritional benefits than yams do. African Yams are drier and starchier. Sweet potatoes are….sweeter.

NUTRIENTS

It would be easiest to list some of the varied nutrients in sweet potatoes: are an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, copper, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin B1 (thiamin), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), dietary fiber, carotenoids, choline, among other nutrients.

This means a lot of benefits: as an overview, they are good for blood sugar control, heart health, reducing stress, promoting relaxation, increasing immunity, cancer prevention, improving vision, skin and hair. They improve digestion, fertility and have anti-inflammatory properties. I will go over these in a little more detail.

The darker colored orangey ones are high in carotenoids, which are precursors to Vitamin A. They help our eyesight and have been found to decrease macular degeneration.   They also boost immunity, reduce cancer, and help with aging. A study from Women’s Healthy Eating and Living (WHEL) found that women with the highest levels of carotenoids had the least likelihood of cancer recurrence. Similarly, studies have shown carotenoids reduce occurrence of prostate cancer and colon cancer.

“For women of childbearing age, consuming more iron from plant sources appears to promote fertility, vision, reduce macular degeneration, heart health, immunity, reducing inflammation, and adding sleep and memory, “says Megan Ware in an article in MedicalNewsToday.

Choline and magnesium both improve nerve functioning, promote relaxation, sleep and reduce stress. High potassium (reasonable high) intake of Potassium is associated with a 20% reduction in risk of dying form all causes, in a report found here: (Increasing Dietary Potassium – Find Out Why Most People Need to Consume More of This Mineral, Today’s Dietitian Vol. 14 No. 12 P. 50, Accessed 13 February 2014.)

They are lower in sodium and have fewer calories than white potatoes — although they do have more sugar. Lower sodium is associated with healthier cardiovascular systems.In addition, they have this wonderful oddity. For a starchy vegetable, unlike others, they do not rapidly increase blood sugar. No blood sugar spikes! This is a benefit that occurs even in people with type 2 diabetes.

There is even more good news, the Beauregard sweet potato, which I personally have purchased at garden centers and grown in both Ohio and SE Michigan, may help control blood sugar. It is similar to a Japanese nutrient supplement called Caiapo, marketed to control blood sugar in diabetic.

RISKS

There are few risks if eaten in moderation, but they do mention some skin reactions – I believe you can turn a bit orange if you contentiously gorge on them for too long, and I suppose some people may be a little allergic if they roll around in the leaves, etc. (I am just making this last part about the leaves up – but it could happen.)  They may not be the best thing to consume large amounts of if you have a problem with oxalates and kidney stones. If you are on Beta-blockers, the high potassium could potentially be a problem, again – so eat with moderation. That is just plain sense. I love them – but I would never eat enough to turn orange! (I won’t speak for rolling around in them, and though I hate to say never, I never have done this yet.)

INFORMATION

For more information, go to the reference section and check out the article from livescience.com. I thought this article was well laid out, by health categories and covered a large amount of territory. While I want to chew it up and spit it back out for you, it will be easiest on us all if you just go to this excellent article and read up, while eating some oven roasted sweet potatoes!

References

SweetPotatoes.com, Facts on Sweet Potatoes:

Everyday Mysteries, Library of Congress website

http://www.boiled-peanut-world.com/george-washington-carver-inventions.html, George Washington Carver Site

http://www.livescience.com/46016-sweet-potato-nutrition.html, Regarding the Beauregard sweet potato:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/281438.php

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/9-reasons-t

 

Disclaimer: I am not a physician. No information here is intended to diagnose, treat or otherwise address human or animal health issues.  In addition, each species is different, so what may be healthful in one species is not necessarily non-toxic in another species.  This blog pro­vides gen­eral infor­ma­tion and dis­cus­sion about herbs, diet, exercise, stress,  health and related sub­jects.  The words and other con­tent pro­vided in this blog, and in any linked mate­ri­als, are not intended and should not be con­strued as med­ical advice. If the reader or any other per­son has a med­ical con­cern, he or she should con­sult with an appropriately-licensed physi­cian or other health care worker.

 

 

 

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