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Sweet potato and its properties

Sweet potato and its properties

Mireia Cervera 06 December 2016

We are in the middle of the sweet potato season, a tuber rich in vitamin A with a delicious sweet taste. In this post we will tell you where it comes from, how to consume it and what properties it has for our health.

A little history

The sweet potato is native to the warmer regions of America and was part of the basic diet of the indigenous population before the arrival of the Spanish. Historians assure that it arrivedto Spain thanks to Christopher Columbus and it spread rapidly throughout Europe. It was the Portuguese merchants who spread its consumption throughout the East, where today it is consumed regularly. In fact the olders producers are currently countries such as Japan, China or India. In Spain they are grown mainly in southern areas, with local varieties such as the pink sweet potato from Malaga.

Now, at the end of autumn is the best season to include sweet potatoes in our dishes.

Sweet potato and potato are first cousins?

Although the sweet potato belongs to a different botanical family from the potato , there are many similarities that can be found between both tubers: their external form(somewhat more elongated in the sweet potato), its richness in starch and its flavor (something sweeter in the sweet potato). It could be said that it is a sweet potato . Its color can vary from whiter and yellowish varieties to other orange ones.They are reddish.


Nutritional value of sweet potatoes

Like potatoes, this tuber is a source of natural sugars that are slowly consumed by the body, ensuring a regular source of energy without blood glucose peaks, which would be responsible for fatigue and weight gain.Although it is rich in starch, and therefore in calories, it has the peculiarity of producing a sensation of satiety , and therefore, of suppressing the appetite. Has as much beta-carotene as carrots and as much vitamin C as legstas. Beta carotenes, which are found in sweet potatoes, in greater proportion the more intense their color , are an essential nutrient that plays a very important role in the formation and maintenance of bones, teeth,soft tissues, skin, vision and in the prevention of premature aging. That is why scientific studies demonstrate the anti-cancer, anti-diabetes and anti-inflammation properties of this tuber (1).

Besides thesweet potato contains a certain amount of plant fiber of the cellulosic type. But unlike other vegetables such as potatoes, its fiber is made up of hemicellulose , and not cellulose. This makes this tuber dIt is very easy to ignite, and also has a softening effect on the intestinal wall.

Sweet potatoes have as much vitamin C as potatoes and as much vitamin A as carrots!

How to store and prepare sweet potatoes?

Now that it is season is the best time to buy sweet potatoes in the market
. These should have a firm appearance, without bumps or soft areas. Once home they should be kept ina paper bag in a cool, dry, dark and well-ventilated place. The idea is that neither light nor humidity reaches them. In this way, we will delay the emergence of shoots and wrinkles, and lengthen their conservation.

The sweet potato should be consAlways eat cooked, since it is not possible to digest it properly when raw. Although in Spain, the most common is to use it exclusively roasted with panallets or chestnuts on the days surrounding the celebration of All Saints, its texture and su flavor fits perfectly into any recipe, including desserts and jams. We can roast them with their skin, boil them, boiled or in stews, bake them peeled with spices, or simply substitute their sister potato in fried foods and purees.
So now you know, now that it is its best time, prepare exquisite preparations with this tuber rich in carotenes, whether they are soups, creams, stews, salads and even desserts and jams ... to benefit from all its propertiesnutricionales.

1. Remya Mohanraj and Subha Silvasankar. Sweet Potato (Ipomoea batatas [L.] Lam)- A Valuable Medicinal Food: A review. Journal of Medicinal Food. July 2014, 17(7): 733-741

Mireia Cervera Nutritionist Teresa Carles Healthy Foods Group - Flax & Kale