When it comes to overall health, the benefits of sweet potatoes are numerous. These bright orange bundles of goodness promote everything from heart, skin, and bone health – to minimizing the effects of stress, slowing down the aging process, and decreasing our risk of cancer. They’re also great for the eyes too. Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of beta carotene, which helps to slow the progress of macular degeneration.
Need more reasons to put sweet potatoes on your plate? I’ll keep going…
Our bodies convert beta carotene to vitamin A, a very important nutrient that helps prevent dry eye and night blindness. From here, I guess it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that if sweet potatoes are packed with beta carotene, they’re also packed with vitamin A.
Vitamin A Health:
To explain a bit further, vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin typically obtained through a balanced diet. Foods high in vitamin A are carrots, sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens, bell peppers, eggs, and liver.
Vitamin A deficiency is mainly a result of poor dietary intake, which can be fixed through supplementation. Deficiency can also be metabolic, meaning the body is unable to absorb the vitamin A ingested. In developed countries, metabolic deficiency is the most common reason for low vitamin A. Conditions that tend to cause poor absorption include: celiac disease, ulcerative colitis, cystic fibrosis, liver disease, and/or bypass surgery.
Blurry vision is an early symptom of vitamin A deficiency, especially at night. Patients low in vitamin A can also develop very dry eyes. If the deficiency is not addressed, the dry eye can lead to corneal infections followed by corneal perforation and scarring. This can ultimately lead to severe vision loss.
In order to prevent vitamin A deficiency, the average adult requires an intake between 2300 IU and 3000 IU per day. One average sized sweet potato contains about 3000 IU of vitamin A. Basically a full days serving.
If you’re having trouble ingesting sweet potatoes, you can always dress them up and make them more appealing. If you can’t think of any good ideas, you can try my End of Summer – Sweet Potato Pie recipe.
- 5 sweet potatoes (peeled)
- 2 pounds organic ground beef (grass fed)
- 1 bag of fresh (or frozen) broccoli
- 1 onion (chopped)
- 1 egg
- 3 tablespoons of butter
- 1 cup of kale (spinach works too)
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon turmeric (for an added nutrient boost)
Since sweet potatoes are the main ingredient, you can start with them first. That said, boil them in a large pot of water until soft (about 15 minutes), then set them aside.
Simultaneously, sauté the ground beef in a pan and season with sea salt, pepper, turmeric, and garlic to taste (I like about 1 teaspoon of each). Set aside the meat when finished and sauté the onion until it’s translucent. Add the kale into the saute pan and cook until the leaves appear wilted (less than 2 minutes).
Next, steam the broccoli until soft. Then mash the sweet potatoes. While mashing, add 3 tablespoons of butter and 1 teaspoon of sea salt until smooth (I typically use a hand held mixer for this process).
When the potatoes are smooth, mix together the meat, onions, 1 raw egg, kale, and broccoli. Place it all in a large baking pan. Then spread the sweet potato mash on top.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes. When done, let cool for a few minutes. Serve in small bowls.