Tasty Tuesdays – Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Yum, sweet potatoes!  This vegetable can be prepared in a variety of ways and tastes delicious with savoury spices such as nutmeg and cinnamon.  This side dish is very easy to make and adds a beautiful splash of orange to your dinner plate.

Ingredients

  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • ½ tsp olive oil
  • ¼ red onion
  • ½ pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 ½ tbsp plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp sour cream
  • 1/3 cup cilantro
  • 1 avocado
  • Salt & pepper

Directions

  • Wash sweet potatoes very well with water.  Cut into small chunks.
  • Steam sweet potato until tender, approximately 15 minutes.
  • Mash sweet potatoes in a bowl and add yogurt and sour cream.
  • In a saucepan, heat olive oil.  Add chopped onion and sauté for 3 minutes.
  • Cut tomatoes in half and add to the pan, cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add the sautéed mix, chopped avocado and cilantro to the sweet potatoes and mix.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Interesting Facts

Botanically, the sweet potato is very different from the yam.  However, many North Americans still refer to it by this erroneous name.  The sweet potato is native to Central and South America and has been depicted in Peruvian imagery dating back thousands of years.  This vegetable is available year round and can be found in many different colours such as pink, yellow, green and purple (Bovell-Benjamin, 2007).  The purple sweet potato contains a pigment called anthocyanin which is under investigation for its antioxidant properties (Kano, et al., 2005). In animal models, anthocyanin has been shown to prevent the activation of key inflammation processes after consumption which reduced inflammation of brain and nervous tissues (Wang, et al., 2010).  The orange variety of this tuber has a highly bioavailable concentration of the carotenoid pigment beta-carotene.  Oodles of research have shown that beta-carotene is converted in the body to vitamin A which is eminent for both cardiovascular and eye health (Bobroff, 2011).  This vegetable’s pigments are only one of the many ways it aids with the reduction of unwanted inflammation.  A study by Ludvik et al. (2008) examined the effects of sweet potato extracts given to people with Type 2 diabetes and found that it helped to decrease plasma levels of fibrinogen and improve insulin sensitivity.  Although fibrinogen is naturally found in the blood and is crucial for blood clotting, high concentrations can lead to unwanted inflammation and deterioration of the myelin sheaths that surround nerves.  In addition to this vegetables anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties it contains a wonderful expanse of minerals and vitamins such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and vitamins A, B, C and K.  It is also a great source of complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber (USDA, 2012).  Interestingly, the sweet potato is a key component of the well-known Okinawa diet.  This tremendously healthy way of eating, observed in the southernmost parts of Japan, is linked with reduced risks of diabetes, obesity and several age-related diseases (Willcox, et al., 2009).  So perhaps this unknowingly healthy tuber may be one of the secrets to a long and healthy life!

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