The Spanish conquerors brought them to Europe when they returned back from their invasions to Latin America, as a gift to their queen, almost 500 years ago. While Venetian invaders brought them to Greece, that is why they are so familiar among the inhabitants of the Ionian Islands.
In my family home, we used to eat them grilled whole with their skin & cooked in the fireplace during the winter weekends. My father, as he is coming from the Ionian islands taught us to enjoy them. I always loved their taste and colour since then. There are many types with various colours: orange dark and light, beige, yellow and purple. Their taste has nothing in common with the famous simple potato. They are very filling, have a delicious sweet taste and I am a big fan of them!
In Greece they are not so popular yet as they are abroad, even though they have started to gain the respect of the fitness and healthy diet recently. They are an outstanding nutrient-rich food that can be consumed in a variety of ways: boiled or grilled, as a starter or garnish, in soups, in pies, and in deserts and smoothies too. They are grown in small farms in the Greek islands and Peloponnese too. They are cultivated on a large scale in China, Brazil, South America, Indonesia and South Africa.
Their intense orange colour is a proof of their high carotenoids content. Carotenoids contribute to boost the good health of our eyesight and immune system. They have powerful antioxidants against cancer and the ageing process.
They are rich in vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin A.
They are a decent source of fibre, calcium, iron, manganese, potassium, magnesium: basic mineral for the muscle relief and relaxation. Even though they have more sugar than the simple potatoes they have less calories and carbs. However they have medium glycemic index especially when they are boiled, which means they release their sugar gradually into the blood, without causing dramatic increase of the blood sugar levels which is related to fatigue and increase of body weight.
They are beneficial even for babies, and the experts claim that it is better for children to eat a sweet potato instead of an off season fruit.
Extra tip: Do not remove their skin before cooking them, because by removing the skin we also decrease significantly their nutrition facts, just wash them carefully, brush their skin and they are ready.
Sweet Potato Nutrition Facts – 100gm of Sweet Potato Contain:
- Calories: 90 kcal
- Carbs: 20,1 gm
- Sugar: 4,2 gm
- Fibre: 3 gm
- Fat: 0,1 gm
- Protein: 1,6 gm
- Vitamin Α: 709 μg
- Beta- carotene: 8509 μg
- Vitamin Β1: 0,1 mg
- Vitamin Β2: 0,1 mg
- Vitamin Β3: 0,61 mg
- Vitamin Β5: 0,8 mg
- Vitamin Β6: 0,2 mg
- Vitamin Β9: 11 μg
- Vitamin Ε: 2,4 mg
- Calcium: 30 mg
- Iron: 0,6 mg
- Magnesium: 25 mg
- Phosphorus: 47 mg
- Potassium: 337 mg
- Zinc: 0,3 mg
In conclusion, sweet potatoes are nutritious, not very expensive, taste great and are very easy to incorporate into our diet.
Try a hot smoothie with plant based milk and sweet potato on the the first chilly nights of this season.
You will need:
- 1 tea cup diced sweet potatoes.
- 1 tea cup dairy-free milk.
- 1/2 banana (very ripe).
- 1 tbsp honey or agave syrup.
- cinnamon, cardamon.
- Steam the sweet potato for 20 min and then dice it.
- Blend the sweet potato, banana and the dairy-free milk.
- Add honey or agave syrup (optional) and warm the mixture for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Put it into your favourite seasonal fall mug and enjoy with a little bit of cinnamon or cardamon.