Step aside russet, the sweet potato is here

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There isn't anything wrong with the traditional potato, but sweet potatoes are a tasty alternative with the health-conscious edge. They contain more vitamins and minerals, and keep calories at a comfortable number. It used to be that sweet potatoes were rare on plates, or cramped beneath a thick layer of marshmallows at a holiday meal. Now that their health benefits are getting more attention, sweet potatoes are making their way into all types of dishes

The Plate Before the Body

Before this powerhouse starch can help give the body any nutritional benefits it has to be plated and eaten. Like brother russet, it can be used in a multitude of ways. New recipes and old favorites can transform into new taste memories with this simple substitution. Despite the naturally sweet taste, these orange potato-substitutes are making more appearances in savory options like French fries.

A great, but unorthodox recipe to try is a sweet potato, kale, and sausage bake. The recipe also calls for a white cheese sauce. The sauce can be optional, but if used in moderation it acts like a binder to the recipe without smothering it in fatty dairy. This recipe does seem odd, but if the skepticism can be put aside, it is worth a try. The sweetness of the sweet potato paired with smoky sausage and bite of the kale lightens the dish. It is a perfect pairing to a chilly fall or winter night. Even conscious eaters, like those who follow a paleo diet, can count on the sweet potato for a nice carbohydrate option.

Sweet Potatoes Walk the Walk

It might make a shorter list to determine what vitamins and minerals are lacking in a sweet potato. Their nutritional properties run the healthy gamut. They contain vitamins B6, C, and D. Vitamins B6 and C help keep away illnesses like the flu, colds, and degenerative heart diseases. Vitamin C also helps the body with recovery, promotes youthfulness by producing collagen, helps the bones and teeth stay healthy, and even aids in digestion. Vitamin D also strengthens the immune system, bones and teeth, and skin. Vitamin D is also a hormone that helps with energy levels and mood.

Sweet potatoes also have an extensive mineral content with iron, magnesium, and potassium. Iron aids the body in a healthy production of white blood cells, helps with stress, and aids the immune system. Magnesium also helps the blood and bones, but it also helps keep stress at bay. Potassium, known for helping the muscles, aids the kidneys as well.

The iconic orange color also is an indicator that sweet potatoes contain a healthy amount of carotenoids, including beta carotene. These contain powerful antioxidants that help prevent aging and lower the risk of cancer.

The russet and other potatoes may be a little cheaper than the sweet potato, but it is well worth the extra pennies to add some variety into the diet. The body will say thank you, the meal will say thank you and guests will say thank you. Sweet potatoes, front and center, are a guaranteed pleaser.

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