Sweet Potatoes on the Diabetic Program
Sweet potatoes are a tuberous root with a sweet taste. Their skin ranges in color from yellow, orange and red, to purple, brown and beige. Their flesh colors range from beige to white and even pink, red, and violet, to yellow, orange and purple. The varieties with white or pale yellow flesh are less sweet and moist than the red, pink and orange varieties. Most varieties eaten in the U.S. are not yams, although commonly referred to as such. Yams are native to Africa and Asia and are a little more difficult to find in the U.S.
Sweet potatoes are thought to have originated in South America and then spread by Spanish explorers. Remnants have been found as far back as 8,000 BC. The majority of them now come from China. However, about half of the sweet potatoes they produce are used for livestock. The leading producer in the U.S. is North Carolina. They grow best in temperate climates.
Although similar in texture, sweet potatoes are only distantly related to the potato. The root is mainly eaten but one can eat the young leaves and shoots as greens. They have also been used in South America as a dye for cloth.
Sweet potatoes are full of simple starches, complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, beta-carotene (a pre-cursor to vitamin A), vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese, and potassium. Those with darker flesh have more beta-carotene than the lighter varieties. They are lower in saturated fatty acids, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids than even soy beans. The purple flesh varieties are high in antioxidants than the other varieties. They also contain tryptophan, copper and some vitamin B5 and B3.
It is important to have healthy fat when eating sweet potatoes to help the body process the beta-carotene and turn it into vitamin A. Sweet potatoes contain anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatory nutrients, and blood sugar-regulating nutrients. In the varieties of the purple ones the anti-oxidants are found in the flesh, not just the skins.
Overall, sweet potatoes are very healthy for you and we hope you enjoy them on our Diabetes program. You can enjoy them steam or baked, broiled or grilled. You can even mash them up if you want. They are yummy and can help satisfy that sweet tooth.
Remember, as always, if you have questions, our health coaches are standing by.
Click here to learn more about the Amino Diet – Diabetes Program or give our health coaches a call at 800-980-7208. Ready to get started? Click below!