The ONE Vegetable Everyone Needs to Eat More Of

I recently heard that sweet potatoes are one of the – if not the most – nutritious vegetables, which is great news because they are also one of my favorites. Sweet, versatile, filling – they’re the perfect snack, side, main dish, or even dessert. My weekly shopping list always includes sweet potatoes, and now that I know how healthy they are, I’m going to find even more ways to incorporate them into my diet.

What makes them the best? Besides being a delicious, low-cal starch, the levels of vital nutrients contained in their fibers are higher than in almost all other forms of produce. Whether eaten raw, boiled, baked, stewed, or smashed, these orange gems provide a heaping helping of:

  • Vitamin A: To keep skin radiant, vision sharp, and restore antioxidants
  • Vitamin C: For an immune system that kicks flu season to the curb
  • Dietary Fiber: To regulate digestion/bowel movements, which in turn stabilizes weight; also to help maintain healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels
  • Natural Sugar: To give you your fix without consuming artificial sweeteners, avoiding heart disease and obesity
  • Complex Carbohydrates: For boosting your metabolism and providing energy and brain power/alertness
  • Protein: Great for building muscle, improving skin, and strengthening bones and cartilage
  • Iron: For oxygen-rich, healthy blood flow
  • Calcium: For optimum skin, heart health, and strong bones (especially vital for women)

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One way I like to consume sweet potatoes – especially with my busy schedule – is raw. Lately, I’ve been peeling the skin off and using a grater to shave them down. They resemble shaved carrots in appearance and consistency, so it doesn’t seem like I’m just gnawing on a raw potato. I add chopped savoy cabbage, finely sliced apple, some red onion, extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, red pepper flakes, dill, salt, and pepper and in minutes I have a big bowl of slaw, perfect to pack for lunch or pull out of the fridge for a last minute dinner side.

For a snack I’ll peel the potato’s skin, cut it into strips, drizzle them in olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and rosemary, then pop them in the oven at 400 degrees F for about 45 minutes to make sweet potato fries. Cutting them into chunks and boiling them in water for about 15 minutes, then mashing them with some ghee, cinnamon, and ground ginger is – in my opinion – better than any classic mashed potato recipe out there.

What’s your favorite way to prepare “The World’s Healthiest Vegetable”?

Allison Beauregard

Allison is a New York City based writer with a focus on sustainability. Her work demonstrates how it is possible to have the “things” that make us happy without compromising the resources that provide these goods. With this vision, Allison sees a future where environmental degradation is reversed and the quality of human life is equally distributed. She is the Category Editor of The Franklin Report and was among the top 5 contributors for Elephant Journal in October 2014.

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