My love affair with sweet potatoes started a long time ago. My mother does not eat white potatoes, but give her sweet potatoes and a different woman emerges. She can have them for breakfast, lunch and supper.
Growing up I ate both white and sweet potatoes with gusto. In fact I practically lived off fried chips (French Fries) during my varsity days. They made them and smothered them in mushroom sauce (oh the memories, I am salivating just thinking of that bad calorie fest) But hey, I was young and careless.
I still love my potatoes but not as much as sweet potatoes. This is purely based on preference not on nutrient value or health benefits. There is a lot of debate and misinformation regarding these well-loved, tubers but pitted against each other, they stand neck and neck in nutritional value.
Sweet Potato Facts
- Did you know that sharing the name ‘potato’ is as far as the relationship between the two go? Sweet potatoes come from a completely different plant family to potatoes.
- There are 5000 known varieties of sweet potatoes.
- Sweet potato leaves are edible and highly nutritious.
- Yellow/orange sweet potatoes are packed with more than 400% of your daily Vitamin A requirements.
- They have more fibre than white potatoes.
- They are rich in Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium and manganese. These minerals are essential in normal functioning and maintenance of our bodies.
- They are very low in proteins. However, their proteins may have antioxidant qualities.
- They are an excellent source of Vitamin C, some B group vitamins and Vitamin E
- The deeper the colour of the sweet potato, the more anti-oxidants it contains.
- Although they both fall in the middle of the glycemic Index, sweet potatoes have a lower GI than potatoes.
- Prevention of Vitamin A deficiency.
High pigment sweet potatoes contain are rich in Vitamin A prevent effects of deficiency which include night blindness, scaly skin and dry tissues.
2. Improvement of Blood sugar regulation.
While they are high in sugar, the high fibre content in sweet potatoes slows down the rate of digestion thereby regulating blood sugar.
3. Contains antioxidants which neutralise free radicals.
This leads to reduced oxidative damage associated with some types of cancers, heavy metal residues and other digestive tract problems.
4. Aids digestion
The high fibre in sweet potatoes supports a healthy digestive tract and regulates digestion
5. Anti-inflammatory properties.
Bright coloured sweet potatoes contain pigment related antioxidants which are beneficial to general heath and have anti-inflammatory powers.
6. Heart Health
Potassium in sweet potatoes may help to lower blood pressure and regulate heartbeat.
Ok, back to the fun stuff-how I like to eat my sweet potatoes. I prefer to roast them with a little salt and just eat them as is. The other day I made a mean lasagna and just used the sweet potato slices instead of lasagne sheets. But my absolute favourite, favourite has to be sweet potato crisps/chips.
If you ever tried making sweet potato chips, you know it takes skill and many failed attempts. For one thing, sweet potatoes are notorious for refusing to get crisp. I found the secret to crisp sweet potato chips in a recipe I am sharing today.
To do them right you also have to have the correct equipment. Enter the mandolin. I never knew what this was for until I was serious about making my own vegetable crisps. The mandolin will help you cut the thinnest slice, a good step towards crispness. You can try to use a sharp knife but I got better results using a mandolin.
Lastly, you have to watch them like a hawk. There is a thin line between burnt and crispy chips. Don’t cross it (like me, many,many times)
I encourage you to try a variety of ways to get incorporate sweet potatoes in your diet. There are plenty vegetarian sites which offer 101 ways with sweet potatoes. I found this…
Try your hand at making these chips, you won’t buy another packet of commercial chips.