Sweet potatoes are a popular food in the paleo category, and for good reasons. It is a tuberous root and although is a starch, it has high caloric density (high concentration of nutrients per calorie) which makes it a great substitute for anyone trying to avoid conventional potatoes. The sweet potato is usually larger than a regular potato, harder, and more fibrous. It is a bit sweet to the taste and looks bright orange or deep purple when cut open.
Sweet potatoes are treated as the potato’s awkward ginger cousin that no one wants to hang out… Click To Tweet
When it comes to carbohydrates and sugar content, sweet potatoes are in the same range as regular potatoes. Unlike a conventional potato, however, the sweet potato is high in important nutrients that our bodies need. Because of its high nutrient density, the sweet potato is an accepted paleo food. Sweet potatoes have been shown to posses antioxidant, anti-disease, and immune-boosting properties.
Vitamin A: the sweet potato contains 4 times the daily recommended intake of Vitamin A. Vitamin A is very important in visual, immune, reproductive and cellular communication functions. It supports cell growth and maintains the heart, kidneys, lungs, and other organs. Vitamin A is also effective for clearing acne-prone skin. Vitamin A deficiency is one of the main causes of preventable blindness – a good reason to start lovin’ sweet potatoes!
Vitamin C: Sweet potatoes contain more vitamin C than their traditional counterparts. Unlike most animals, humans cannot produce vitamin C on their own, and must therefore obtain it from foods (or pills…but we’re not too keen on those!) A sweet potato contains about 1/3 of the recommended daily amount of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is instrumental in protecting our bodies from diseases by supporting our immune function, and also acts as a powerful antioxidant, ridding our bodies of toxins and free radicals.
Beta-carotene: Sweet potatoes are super high in beta-carotene – the stuff that makes them so bright and colorful. Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant, which rids your body of free radicals preventing aging and chronic diseases. It also supports the immune system and may prevent and help treat cancer.
Yeah… regular potatoes don’t do any of that!
Benefits in paleo
As previously mentioned, sweet potatoes are a great way to substitute regular potatoes when you switch to a paleo lifestyle. They are also very versatile – you can make chips, boil, bake, mash, fry, and cook them into every possible dish ranging from desserts to main entrees.
The nutritious value of the sweet potato is often overlooked. It’s treated as the conventional potato’s awkward, ginger cousin who no one wants to hang out with. However, the sweet potato is incredible for your health if you just give it a chance.
Where to buy sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes can be bought a regular supermarkets, grocery stores, and farmers markets. I highly recommend getting them at a farmer’s market. Not only will you save some money that way, but the potatoes will be fresher and guaranteed local. Local food is always better, because it begins to lose nutrients as it is harvested. The longer you wait between harvesting and consumption – the more nutritional value you’ve lost.