Domesticated over 5000 years ago in it's native South America, the many varieties are now cultivated world wide. It's no wonder since the sweet potato covers a lot of bases nutritionally, is affordable, easy-to-prepare, and add so much color and diversity to the diet. Is it a Yam, or a sweet potato? Most of what is labeled yams are botanically sweet potatoes. The true Yam commonly eaten in South Africa is seldom sold in the U.S.
At only 180 calories per cup of cooked sweet potato, and on average about $1 per raw pound, sweet potatoes won't break the scales or the budget. One cup also yeilds a huge 7 grams of fiber (white potatoes offer only 2 gm.) Dietary fiber is a key to decreasing LDL cholesterol, adds bulk to help ward off cravings and hunger, and can also help help regulate blood sugar levels. With a glycemic load of only 17, sweet potatoes make a great stand-in for white potatoes or pasta, which cause more dramatic swings in blood sugar. The 950 milligrams of potassium in that same cup plays an important role in regulating blood pressure. The orange color provides an abundance of carotenoids which are used to form vit. A; a staggering 769% of the daily value! 65% DV of vit. C (used to form collagen; a protein that keeps skin, hair, and nails strong), and 33% DV of vit. B6; important for amino acid and lipid metabolism, and is used to form many neurotransmitters such as serotonin. Lutien and iron are also high on the list.
Sweet potatoes are naturally fat free, so keep them on your diet plan without the butter and sugar. Use olive oil, spices, or nuts. Sorry - marshmallows aren't a healthy topping.
~ Tufts University