Baked Sweet Potatoes

The humble Sweet Potato is a powerhouse of nutrition, rich in vitamins, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory nutrients, and blood sugar-regulating nutrients. The antioxidant Beta-carotene, which gives Sweet Potato its orange flesh, is necessary for your body to produce Vitamin A. We need vitamin A for eye health, a strong immune system, and for healthy skin. One medium Sweet Potato provides 100% of your daily needs for Vitamin A, as well as a healthy dose of vitamin C, several of the B vitamins, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin E.

Some research has shown that, as antioxidants from Sweet Potato (called cyanidins and peonidins) and other phytonutrients pass through the digestive tract, they act in ways that may assist the body with detoxification of heavy metals. Scientists are also studying the anti-inflammatory nutrients (anthocyanin) contained in purple Sweet Potatoes, which may provide protection against certain types of cancer. Sweet Potatoes also have a fascinating ability to potentially improve blood sugar regulation and researchers are looking at how this may be helpful for those with Type-2 Diabetes. Sweet Potato is also very high in fiber which can help promote healthy digestive function and regular bowel movements.

You can enjoy Sweet Potato as a main course, side dish, in soups, or in desserts. When shopping for these versatile veggies, remember that they are not the same as Yams. The two are not in the same "food family" and each has a different nutrient profile. Yams are usually imported from Africa or Asia, whereas the Sweet Potato is grown abundantly in the U.S. Finally, Sweet Potato color, both flesh and skin, can range from white to yellow-orange to brown or purple. There also are "firm" or "soft" varieties, which can make a difference in your cooking.

Try this easy recipe as a delicious and more nutritious alternative to white potatoes and let me know what you think. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 4 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed and pierced 2-3 times each with a fork
  • Coconut oil, melted for brushing
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Organic, grass-fed ghee, butter or extra virgin olive oil to taste

Preparation:

  1. Heat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Brush potatoes with coconut oil and place potatoes directly on the oven rack (line the base of your oven with foil to catch any drips).
  3. Bake in hot oven for 45-60 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork.
  4. Remove from oven and serve hot.
  5. Season with salt, pepper and organic grass-fed ghee, olive oil or butter to taste.

Optional - Sweet Potato Fries or Wedges:

You can also use this basic recipe to make these into sweet potato fries or wedges. Just peel and cut the potatoes lengthwise into desired size pieces, toss with melted coconut oil, salt, pepper and 2 tsp of fresh, finely minced rosemary.

Spread the potatoes in an even layer on a baking sheet and bake or roast, stirring once or twice until tender and browned, about 20-25 minutes. Serve with unsweetened organic ketchup or low-sugar BBQ sauce.