Sweet Potatoes: 6 Interesting Facts to Learn About This Delicious Vegetable

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Updated on: Educator Review By: Michelle Connolly

Sweet potatoes are great, healthy, and tasteful. They are a type of starchy root vegetable that grows almost everywhere on the planet and is consumed by lots of people around the world. Although it is a vegetable, people consume sweet potatoes as desserts or a sweet snack. Well, they are called sweet for a reason, right?

Well, there is so much information to learn about this sweet vegetable. We will introduce you to the place where this vegetable was first discovered, the benefits you can get from it, and fun facts about it that you may have never heard about. 

Origins of This Delicious Vegetable

Interestingly, sweet potatoes are among the oldest vegetables discovered on earth. According to history, they first made an appearance in 750 B.C. in Peru. For that reason, this vegetable is believed to be native to South America. There is even a saying that Christopher Columbus got to know about sweet potatoes upon setting foot on the lands of the American continents. 

After that, the sweet potatoes travelled all the way to Spain. It became a highly consumed food on a small scale before it started travelling all across Europe in the 1500s. Around a century later, the Portuguese brought this little vegetable to Africa, where it became a daily staple that many people mistake for being African. 

Health Benefits of The Sweet Potato

Most, if not all, vegetables have great health benefits that can improve the quality of your life and your overall well-being. Consuming a sweet potato on a regular basis can have marvellous health benefits. It is considered a superfood, for it is rich in more than a few vitamins and minerals that work on bettering your body functions. 

But then again, too much of anything can be harmful. Sweet potatoes are high in sugar and can cause a lot of trouble, including stomach issues. So, if you want to reap a sweet potato’s benefits, you have to eat it in moderation. Now, let’s go through the advantages of eating a sweet potato every now and then.

– Sweet potatoes are highly nutritious. One sweet potato contains enough vitamins E, A, and C. All of them work to make your skin better and smoother. They even improve the health of your nails.

– They are rich in fibre, which makes you feel full for a long time, so you won’t need to keep eating throughout the day. This way, you can lose weight because it helps restrict your calories.

– It is rich in antioxidants which have the properties to free your body from radicals that harm your DNA and cause inflammation. Antioxidants also help in improving your immune system, reducing your risks of getting unwanted diseases like heart disease or cancer.

– Your digestive system needs fibre to improve the digestion process. One sweet potato is full of fibre. It stays in your stomach, taking enough time to be digested, so it prevents constipation from happening. 

– Sweet potatoes are good for your eyes sight as they are rich in Vitamin A. In fact, they are a rich source of beta-carotene, which your body uses to convert to Vitamin A. This vitamin form receptors inside your eyes to help you see the lights better and brighter. 

Different Ways to Enjoy A Sweet Potato

Just like any vegetable, a sweet potato can be eaten raw. It comes in different colours, and each one of them may have different tastes, from which you can find the ones that appeal to you the most. The best part is that there are various ways in which you can enjoy a sweet potato.

Make It Into A Toast

Turning sweet potatoes into a toast can be really fun because you will get to add more ingredients in between, creating lots of delicious flavours. Cut the sweet potato into thin slices, take two of them, add avocado or peanut butter sauce, and enjoy the taste. 

Mash It Like Regular Mashed Potatoes

We know that sweet potatoes and potatoes are not the same thing, but they both share that they can be mashed. Sweet potato is peeled and boiled until it gets smooth and becomes easier to be mashed. Once it is ready, adding milk to give it a consistent texture that you can eat is a great idea. Seasoning will also accentuate the taste and makes it even better. 

Baked Sweet Potatoes

Baking your sweet potato is a great way to enjoy its delicious delight. All you will get to do is put it into the oven and leave it for a few minutes. You will need to check out on it every few minutes to make sure it doesn’t burn. Once it feels tender when you poke it with a fork, you can take it out and enjoy it. 

Blend It Into A Smoothie

That is a new way to eat sweet potatoes and also a brand new flavour for a smoothie, right? Blending one piece of a sweet potato with milk and ice cubes will result in a delicious thick milkshake. You can add flavourful fruit as well if you would like. 

Slice It Into Chips or Thin Fries

Sweet potatoes can be easily cut into thin slices to have them as a healthy snack instead of regular chips. You can either bake or fry them, whatever suits you best. However, we do believe that the baking option is much healthier, for it will keep the nutritious value of the sweet potato. Another snack that you can make with sweet potatoes is a healthy fries option. You can have the sweet potato cut to think fingers and then baked or fried.

6 Fun Facts About Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes serve as a great dessert, although they are a type of vegetable with lots of health benefits and a great taste. Eating a sweet potato can actually be fun, but what is even more fun is learning brand new facts about this delectable vegetable and sharing them with your friends.

1. Not A Potato

Sweet potatoes and potatoes are both vegetables, but they are not the same thing at all. People confuse them together, thinking that the sweet potato is just a sweeter version of the ordinary potato. In fact, both vegetables are not even related. Sweet potato is a root vegetable with a brown outer shell and orange internals.

2. Official Vegetable in North Carolina

North Caroline provides a great portion of the sweet potato supply around the States. For that reason, the General Assembly assigned this vegetable as the official vegetable in the State back in 1995. The sweet potato was also a fixed ingredient in the diet of the Native Americans; they used to grow it in North Caroline, for it was easy to do it there, and it continued to be grown there.

3. February is Sweet Potatoes National Month

Did you know that the sweet potato has a national month on its own? Yes, just like the coffee and doughnut national days, there is actually a whole month dedicated to celebrating the sweetness of this little vegetable. This celebration takes place in the United States, commemorating their history as it has always been part of American cuisine. 

4. Are not the Same as Yams

Sweet potatoes and yams look pretty much alike. Yams are traditional in Africa, and because sweet potatoes look like them, the African refer to them as yams. However, if you compare them, they have different colours and textures. The sweet potato has a moist outer shell and comes in different colours. However, the yams are dry on the outside and are more brownish. 

5. Comes in Different Colours

The insides and outsides of sweet potatoes are not of the same colour. Not only that, but sweet potatoes are generally found in different colours, either on the inside or outside. The outer skin could be anything from red, orange, brown, yellow, or even purple. However, the innards can also be orange, deep purple, and, in some cases, creamy white. 

6. Common Thanksgiving Dish

We have already mentioned that sweet potatoes can be cooked and eaten in a variety of ways. However, we have only provided you with easy and quick snack methods. Even more, there are whole recipes where you can make a savoury dish of sweet potatoes, and they are common in celebrating thanksgiving. No matter where you come from, try looking for a delicious recipe for sweet potatoes and help your family make it for thanksgiving. 

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