November is Sweet Potato Awareness Month, which is more than fitting for this ubiquitous Thanksgiving staple! Sweet potatoes have a long history of helping us celebrate during the holidays, but there’s a lot more to them than you might think. For example, sweet potatoes are actually much healthier than regular potatoes, and definitely aren’t related to yams. Read on to find out more about this delicious tuber. Happy (and healthy) noshing!
1. One medium sweet potato contains over twice the RDA of Vitamin A, which is essential for vision and cell renewal.
2. That same medium sweet potato has almost twice the fiber of a regular potato, promoting healthy digestion and keeping you full.
3. Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamins C and E, which are essential for immunity and healthy skin, respectively.
4. Despite their sweet, dessert-like taste, sweet potatoes have actually been shown to lower and stabilize blood sugar, even in diabetic patients.
5. Though commonly sold as yams, sweet potatoes belong to a completely separate genus. Yams are native to Africa and Asia, have dark, bark-like skin, and can grow up to 5 feet in length!
6. Their brightly colored flesh provides high levels of healthy antioxidants. While the sweet potatoes we enjoy at Thanksgiving usually have yellow-orange colored flesh, sweet potatoes come in a variety of colors, from white to purple, depending on the variety.
7. Even though we think of sweet potatoes as a Thanksgiving tradition, the first mention of sweet potatoes as on the menu didn’t come around until the late 1800s. Potatoes of any kind were not a part of the 1621 Pilgrim’s diet. Sweet potatoes later became a backbone of Southern cooking, which is how they made their way onto our table today.
What’s your favorite sweet potato dish? Do you prefer them with marshmallows or without? Let us know in the comments!