Check out our guide to Sweet Potatoes, and why they should be on your plate.
WHY YOU NEED THEM
Sweet potatoes contain a mother lode of CAROTENOIDS, plant compounds that squelch cell damage generated by everyday living and challenging physical activity like working out.
In addition, these sweet tubers are a good source of vitamin E, necessary for preventing free radicals from converting low-density lipoproteins (LDLs, or bad cholesterol) into stickier particles more likely to clog arteries and block the flow of blood to your heart.
These orange roots are also a bountiful source of the mineral potassium, which is necessary for muscle contraction, nerve transmission, bone health, water balance, and normal blood pressure. In fact, sweet potatoes boast more potassium than bananas.
The four grams of fiber in a medium sweet potato fulfills about 10% of your daily needs, leaving you feeling satisfied after you eat and helping you keep your hand out of the cookie jar.
As for your muscles, the copper in sweet potatoes assists in the production of connective tissue, including collagen—which is responsible for keeping muscles healthy and skin taut.
Finally, sweet potatoes may help you breathe easier. Quercetin, a potent phytonutrient found in the vegetable, has been shown to help ward off allergies such as hay fever and asthma.
HOW TO GET MORE
Bake 'em. Toss unpeeled sweet potatoes into the oven at 400 degrees and let cook for 30–40 minutes or until soft. You can also nuke them on high for 4–6 minutes.
Make home fries. Coat peeled raw sweet- potato wedges with olive oil and roast on a baking sheet for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees or until golden and soft.
Mash 'em. Instead of using instant potatoes, steam peeled sweet-potato chunks until tender (about 10 minutes) and mash with a bit of O.J.
Use them as a topping. Slice cold, cooked, peeled potatoes for snacks and side dishes; they taste great stuffed into turkey, ham, chicken, or roast beef wrap sandwiches or over the top of a salad.
Drink them in a smoothie. In your blender, mix a leftover baked sweet potato with a cup of water, some ice, a shot of brown sugar, vanilla, and a bit of peanut butter; process until smooth and creamy.
Buy firm, medium-size sweet potatoes without any cracks, bruises, or soft spots. Once you've bought them, remove the potatoes from the bag and store in a cool, dark, dry place for up to 10 days. Don't refrigerate until after cooking.