By: Nick Thomas
Potato, as a rule, does not usually come to mind when thinking of eating a highly nutritional diet; however, the sweet potato defies this. It’s a complex carbohydrate but unlike the white potato, it has a great deal of nutritional value and deserves to be part of our regular diet. The complex carbohydrate is slow acting with minimal sugar while the simple carbohydrate is fast acting with a higher sugar content. For example, a weight-loss nutrition plan would need a high amount of complex carbohydrates early in the day and taper off in the evening with minimal simple carbohydrates. On the flip side, an athlete would need a increased amount of simple carbohydrates because it’s fast acting with a rush of sugar to the muscle.
Just one sweet potato contains 400% of the vitamin A recommended to keep our eyes, skin, and organ function healthy, not to mention it helps keep illness away, which is especially important this time of year. That same sweet potato also contains almost half of our daily vitamin C intake. Both of these vitamins hold the antioxidants which protect against aging and disease.
Research has also proven that a unique protein called protease inhibitor can be gained by eating the sweet potato, and this slows cancer growth. This same one serving of sweet potato holds a third of our needed daily mineral manganese intake, helping our bodies produce collagen and promote skin and bone health. Finally, several energy-supporting B vitamins and minerals can be found in the sweet potato, including potassium which is responsible for releasing excess sodium from the body and lowering blood pressure causing the heart to have a more regular rhythm.
Now, for those who were worried about the starchy side of this super food, rest easy knowing that the high fiber content makes them a slow-burning starch which means they will not cause a spike in your blood sugar or insulin levels. One serving of sweet potato is about 6 grams of fiber which is more than a quarter of the recommended daily amount our bodies need.
So how do we cook this super food to incorporate it into our daily meals? Here are a couple of simple ways to make the sweet potato taste great. Keep in mind that cooking it in the skin does provide another element of nutrients. Take a washed sweet potato, still in the skin and place it on a baking sheet and put it in a 400 degree oven for roughly 45 minutes or until fork tender. When it is cool to the touch, cut it open and add a small amount of olive oil-based butter and cinnamon. When the craving for fries hits, try this: Peel a few sweet potatoes, cut them in 1 inch cubes or slices if you prefer, place them on a baking sheet, drizzle them with olive oil, and give them a generous sprinkle of sea salt. Bake them at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes until crisp and tender.
For more information regarding a personalized, general, or sports nutrition plan contact me at Prime Performance. My personal contact is 423-805-0870.
By: Nick Thomas