Let me start off by saying, I am generally somewhat skeptical when a food is categorized as a “superfood”. There are some that are generally accepted as super rich in nutritional value and only do great things for your body. Blueberries. Pineapple. Spinach. These I can accept, and I literally force myself to buy these items at the store and find new and creative ways to use them.
But there are some foods I look at on these “superfood” list, and feel that their nutritional benefit is really dependent on who the person is. Egg whites. Fat-free yogurt. Edamame. If you search any of these foods, you will find some critics – or self proclaimed experts – will have negative things to say about what these foods actually do to the human body. Dairy, fat-free anything, and soy are three of the most controversial things on my grocery list. And when it comes to consuming copious amounts of anything, I want to be damn sure that I am doing right by my body.
Which brings me to my latest obsession: sweet potatoes! They literally have superpowers. There are so many ways to enjoy the benefits of these rooty tubers, it is hard for even me to speculate how awesome they are. Not only are these dark orange beauties loaded with a ton of vitamins – most notable vitamin A, but also packed with vitamin C, B6, fiber, calcium and potassium – but they also can help stabilize blood sugar levels and lower insulin resistance. Research has also shown that phytonutrients in sweet potatoes may be able to help lower the potential health risk posed by heavy metals and free radicals, can reduce the effects of digestive tract problems like IBS and ulcerative colitis, and can reduce the potential risk posed by a surplus of mercury in the diet.
Another huge benefit of sweet potatoes are the hormones you can get from eating these yummy carbs. Sweet potatoes are jam-packed with good estrogens, which can be worked into the diet to act as a natural alternative to hormone replacement therapy. Don’t believe me? Ask my mom. Back when I was a kid, my mom was diagnosed with a benign tumor in her brain, causing her to have symptoms of menopause about 20 years premature. Instead of taking the more aggressive route, she filled her diet with superfoods filled with hormones. I kid you not, I watched my mom eat crazy amounts of sweet potatoes for something like a year, and low and behold, the early menopausal symptoms ceased and life went back to normal.
On top of it, I recently started seeing a chiropractor, who swears by his yam cream. According to the good doctor, in addition to helping manage symptoms of menopause, minimizing PMS, and soothing migraines, the hormones found in yams can help speed up your metabolism, helping with weight control.
So next time you are contemplating the balance of your meal, I highly recommend replacing you usual white potatoes, rice or pasta with sweet potatoes. Swap out regular fries for sweet potato fries. Don’t wait til Thanksgiving to bust out the yams, celebrate their goodness year round! But don’t oversaturate them with extra crap (brown sugar, maple syrup, ICK). To get yourself started, just try baking or steaming them plain (my FAVE). If this doesn’t satisfy, try dicing them and glazing some honey, ginger and spices to give them a little kick. Happy Yamming!