Sweet Potatoes: More Than Just a Yummy Food

Did you know that February is National Sweet Potato month? Sweet potatoes are those lovely orange potatoes that are surprisingly nutritious and scrumptious!

 One cup of sweet potatoes contains a variety of important nutrients including:

  • 769% DV of Vitamin A, which promotes eye health, immune system function, and tissue maintenance.
  • 65% DV of Vitamin C, another immune system booster and aids in the muscle and collagen production.
  • 50% DV of Manganese, which helps reduce inflammation, improve bone health, and thyroid health.
  • 29% DV of Vitamin B6, which has been linked towards improving mood and towards lessening heart health issues.
  • 27% DV of Potassium, which helps regulate body systems of digestion, blood pressure, and water balance.
  • 7x the recommended daily value (DV) of beta-carotenes (which are helpful for promoting eye health)

Sweet potatoes also contain both soluble and insoluble fibers which are extremely beneficial for gut and digestion health. Eating a cup of sweet potatoes adds 6.6 grams of fiber to your diet—research has shown that a fiber rich diet of 20-33 grams per day can decrease the risk of colon cancer. It also has the added benefit of maintaining regular bowel movements to keep your gut healthy.

Adding sweet potatoes to your diet can be relatively easy! They can be made into mashed potatoes, fries, hash browns, or even as an alternative to toast for those who try to avoid gluten. Another fun alternative is switching out meat for sweet potatoes in tacos or burgers with black beans. This makes a lighter, easier to digest meal packed full of veggies and plant-based nutrients (including a good amount of protein).

Some of my personal favorite recipes include Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas and Sweet Potato Quinoa Chili—both healthy and hearty meals to eat during the wintertime. The enchiladas are easily adjusted for dietary restrictions like gluten-intolerant or vegan, while the chili is free of the big 8 allergens.

Stay healthy and start cooking, maybe with some sweet potatoes involved!

Written by Emma, Undergrad Intern 2021

If you would like to speak to a professional counselor or psychologist about your life and are in the Chicago area, please feel free to contact Olive Branch Counseling Associates, Inc. at 708-633-8000. We are located at 6819 West 167th Street in Tinley Park, Illinois 60477.


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