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Featured today on Fiber Focus Friday is the incredibly nourishing, wonderfully nutritious, sweet potato.  Sweet potatoes are an awesome high fiber food and are an excellent addition to a high fiber diet. Just like previous posts we will be focusing on the types of sweet potatoes, fiber content, health benefits, where sweet potatoes come from, and even some fun facts about sweet potatoes!

As always, please comment with any questions or suggestions for future foods to be featured!

The Sweet Potato Quick Fact Card

sweet potato health benefits are amazing

Fiber Content of Sweet Potatoes

The fiber content of a sweet potato is about 4 grams any way you slice it. If you decide to cut it up and measure it by a cup it will be 4 grams, and if you eat a medium sized spud it will be about 4 grams. As with apples, be sure to eat the skin to reap the most health benefits, as much of the fiber in a sweet potato exists in its outer covering.

Types of Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes can also known as Yams. In actuality, yams and sweet potatoes are different and it was only through an labeling error in the US that widespread confusion has ensued.  The more orange skinned varieties are typically labeled yams, and other colors are lableld sweet potatoes.

For you scientific nerds out there, yams are from the dioscoreaceae family and sweet potatoes are from the ipomoea batatas family. Call them what you will though, it doesn’t change their pure awesomeness!

The different varieties include but are not limited to the following:

  • Beauregard  
  • Carolina Bunch
  • Centennial
  • Darby
  • Jewel

Regardless of which sweet potato variety you find in the grocery store, the health benefits are plentiful!

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Sweet Potato Health Benefits

Sweet potato health benefits are might indeed! Sweet potatoes can be a strong ally in a great many things which include:

  1. Of course number one is that they are high in fiber! If you are a regular to this site you will probably shake your head at hearing this one, but we can’t forget that fiber is one of the best nutrients to seek out when trying to lose weight or to be more healthy overall.
  2. One spud packs over 100% of your daily need for Vitamin A. Vitamin A helps to keep your vision and immune system in check, among other uses.
  3. Besides Vitamin A, Sweet potatoes are high in many other essential vitamins and nutrients including vitamin C, vitamin B-6, pantothenic acid, and manganese.
  4. Sweet potatoes are high in potassium. High Potassium Intake is said to be associated with a 20% decreased risk of dying from all causes. While I am not sure how it prevents death from bungee jumping or other deaths unrelated to health and fitness, keeping your potassium levels high is indeed important.
  5. Beta-Carotene is a powerful antioxidant and you can find it with abundance in sweet potatoes. In the long run, consuming antioxidants can boost your immune system and protect your system from free radicals.

Where Do Sweet Potatoes Come From?

The sweet potato is the tuberous root of a dicotyledonous plant that originated in either Central America or South America. Gorwing underground, the roots mature in 2-9 months depending on the cultivator and can even be Grown From Your Own Garden if you so desire!

You can find sweet potatoes in most grocery stores, and they last for quite a while on the shelf without need to refrigerate. I have eaten a sweet potato that is several weeks old and it tasted just fine!

Nutrition Facts/Fun Facts About Sweet Potatoes

  • Sweet potatoes are a root vegetable.
  • The genus of the sweet potato also includes several garden flowers called morning glories.
  • The sweet potato is not closely related to a regular potato is not actually not even in the same family of plants.
  • Remnants of sweet potatoes have been found as far back as 8000 BC!
  • Sweet potato consumption has decreased dramatically in the US as of late, down from 29 pounds in 1920 to only 4 pounds average consumption per capita.
  • To take in the amount of vitamin A that is in one sweet potato you would have to eat 23 cups of broccoli! Wow that’s a lot of broccoli!
  • Sweet potatoes can be multiple different colors including yellow, white, red, purple, and most commonly orange.

How Do I Eat My Sweet Potatoes

I make my sweet potatoes by following a very simple microwave recipe. I avoid the oven as it takes quite awhile to cook (an hour plus) and the microwave tastes just as good or better.

  1. Poke multiple holes in the sweet potato with a sharp knife or a fork. This will allow the entire spud to cook evenly and you will most likely (hopefully!) avoid an explosion in your microwave
  2. Drop  a little bit of olive oil (tablespoon at most) on the sweet potato and coat it using your fingers.
  3. Add some salt and pepper and whatever other seasonings you might like.
  4. Place it in the microwave for 5 minutes and stand back just in case, you never know what a potato could do!
  5. Drop a little bit of sour cream or butter on it and you have yourself an excellent side dish!

Other awesome reciples include:

Final Thoughts on the Awesome Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes are an awesome addition to just about any diet, and their health benefits will be sure to set you down the right path. Eat them often and you will definitely reap the benefits of this high fiber vegetable.

For an another awesome resource on sweet potatoes check out AllAboutSweetPotatoes.com. This is an excellent place to learn everything there possibly is to know about sweet Potatoes.

What are your thoughts? Do you love sweet potatoes like I do!? Do you have a favororite way to prepare sweet potatoes? Let me know in the comments below and have a great day!