Sweet potatoes are one of the most nutritional vegetables available and can be purchased year-round. They are not just a sweet version of potatoes, as they have a completely different nutrition profile and unlike potatoes, sweet potatoes do not belong to the nightshade family of vegetables (which includes eggplant, peppers, tomatoes and regular potatoes). The alkaloids found in nightshade foods can impact joint function, and so it is recommended that anyone with arthritis or other joint problems eliminate nightshade foods from their diet.
Three Reasons to Eat Sweet Potatoes
- Sweet potatoes are rich in many nutrients, including beta-cartone, vitamin A, vitamin C, copper and manganese, all of which are antioxidants that promote a strong immune system. They also contain iron, vitamin B6 and potassium.
- Sweet potatoes are diabetic friendly. Although they have a very sweet taste, sweet potatoes help stabilize blood sugar levels, primarily because of their very high fiber content. The fiber helps to both slow digestion and the release of sugar.
- One small sweet potato with the skin contains approximately 95 calories.
How to Select, Store & Prepare Sweet Potatoes
- Select: Look for sweet potatoes that are firm, and are without cracks, bruises or soft spots.
- Store: Sweet potatoes will stay fresh for up to one month when stored in a very cool, dry, dark place like a well-ventilated cabinet. Sweet potatoes should not be stored in the refrigerator or in plastic bags.
- Prepare: Rinse sweet potatoes under cold water before peeling or cutting. Cutting sweet potatoes into small pieces will help them to cook faster, and cutting them into equal size pieces will help them to cook evenly.
Different Types of Sweet Potatoes
There are a multitude of types of sweet potatoes, but the ones most commonly found in the grocery store are:
- Brown-Purple Skinned Sweet Potatoes: These types of sweet potatoes are often called yams and have a soft, moist, orange colored flesh when cooked. Different varieties include:
- Beauregard – smooth skin with deep orange flesh
- Garnets – garnet-colored skin with orange-yellow flesh
- Jewels – orange skin with deep orange flesh
- Beige- Skinned Sweet Potatoes: These sweet potatoes have a juicy yellow flesh.
- Purple-Skinned Sweet Potatoes: These are typically called Japanese sweet potatoes. They have a deep purple skin with a white flesh that is not as moist as other sweet potato varieties.