Happy Friday, everyone! It's time for another edition of Fit Food Friday and this week we're talking about SWEET POTATOES! During the holiday season you likely saw your fair share of marshmallow-laced yams or sweet potato pies, but I'm here to encourage you to reap the health benefits of sweet potatoes all year round! This sweet orange spud is definitely a food with fitness benefits and here's why:
Sweet potatoes are high in fiber. Getting adequate fiber promotes a healthy weight,regular bowel movements, lowers cholesterol levels and helps to control blood sugar levels. However, the fiber might not be the only reason sweet potatoes are good for maintaining steady glucose levels! Sweet potatoes have been linked to higher levels of adiponectin, a hormone that improves insulin sensitivity.
Sweet potatoes are chock full of nutrients, including beta carotene, vitamin C, iron! Most people recognize that the orange flesh of sweet potatoes means they are high in Vitamin A/beta carotene, an antioxidant that plays a role in improving eyesight, controlling blood pressure, preventing heart disease and potentially treat certain cancers. From a fitness perspective, adequate beta carotene levels have also shown to decrease symptoms of exercise-induced asthma! Remember to add a healthy fat (such as olive oil) when cooking with sweet potatoes to maximize the uptake and benefit of beta carotene!
When it comes to athletes, probably the most important nutrients found in sweet potatoes are manganese and copper. These two trace play vital roles in muscular function and protein synthesis, yet some runners fail to meet their daily requirements.
Since they're naturally sweet and extremely versatile, sweet potatoes can be incorporated into our diets in so many ways! Mash, boil or slice 'em up for a tasty and nutritious addition to any meal! If you're not a fan of sweet potatoes yet, but want their nutrient boost, start by making mashed potatoes with half regular and half sweet potatoes or pureeing them to add to soups!
Make sure to tune in next Friday for a new Fit Food! :)