A sweet potato, also known as ipomoea batatas, is a type of plant. The dark red, brown or purplish roots are the edible part of the plant.
Sweet potatoes are one of the OG Paleo superstar foods. And rightly so, it’s delicious, nutritious, and super versatile.
If you have ever had questions about this root, this article is going to answer all of your questions. And chances are, you’ll be craving a sweet potato when you’re done. 🙂
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So, Can You Microwave a Sweet Potato?
Unlike regular potatoes, sweet potatoes can be enjoyed raw. As the name suggests, they have a sweet flavor that is ideal for all sorts of dishes.
But sweet potatoes are just as versatile when it comes to preparation. You can grill, bake, or roast them. (Source). And yes, you can most definitely microwave them.
Microwaved sweet potatoes are the ultimate option if you’re in a hurry. You don’t have to preheat your oven or prepare any pots or pans.
All you will need is the sweet potato itself and a microwave-safe plate. Place the potato on the plate, making sure to pierce the skin with a fork or knife.
Microwave the sweet potato for five to eight minutes, or until the skin puffs outward and the flesh is hot and soft.
Once your sweet potato is done, let it cool and it is ready to eat. (Source)
You can enjoy your sweet potato by itself, as a side dish, or as an ingredient. Blend the cooked vegetable into soups, pie filling, or dipping sauces.
Sweet potatoes are a tasty compliment to all sorts of meats. After microwaving, serve it alongside chicken, beef, pork or fish!
You can also cut up your sweet potato and mix it into a salad. If you’re in the mood for a sweet snack, add a drizzle of honey, and a dab of almond butter, and tuck in.
Depending on your preference, you can add a variety of spices to your sweet potato. Add salt, garlic, or even chili to intensify and enhance its flavor. (Source)
The History of the Humble Sweet Potato
Despite its name, the sweet potato is unrelated to yams or common potatoes. The pulpy flesh can be pale colored (white or yellow) or shades of orange.
These vegetables are included in cuisines across the globe. The Japanese use sweet potatoes to manufacture alcohol and starch.
In the United States, the Caribbean, and tropical America, sweet potatoes are served cooked whole or mashed as pie filling.
Sweet potatoes thrive in warm climates. They grow well in soil that is friable, meaning of a crumbly texture. (Source)
The historical origin of the sweet potato stretches back over centuries. It was likely domesticated in Central America thousands of years ago.
In 1492, Christopher Columbus made his renowned first voyage to the American continent. He brought the vegetable back to Europe with him.
From there onwards, sweet potatoes were introduced to other countries. After arriving in China towards the end of the 16th century, it spread throughout Asia.
By the 17th and 18th century, sweet potatoes reached Africa and Latin America. The adaptability of these hardy vegetables allow for easy cultivation.
Interestingly, the genetic traits of sweet potatoes can differ depending on the region. Sweet potatoes grown certain parts of Asia are different from their American counterparts.
Today, sweet potatoes are the most common root crop grown in developing countries. Even a few roots of the ipomea batatas plant can yield a lot of planting material. (Source)
Sweet potatoes are packed with nutrients, including essential vitamins and minerals. Additionally, they are low in cholesterol, sodium, and saturated fat.
200 grams of cooked sweet potato is worth 180 calories. This same serving contains 26 percent of your daily value of fiber, which promotes digestion.
166 of the 180 calories come from carbohydrates. 11.2 calories are protein, and a mere 2.5 are from fat.
Sweet potatoes contain high amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin B6. They also contain good amounts of the important minerals potassium and manganese.
One serving of this vegetable contains the following daily value percentages:
- Vitamin A (769 percent)
- Vitamin C (65 percent)
- Vitamin B6 (29 percent)
- Manganese (50 percent)
- Potassium (27 percent) (Source)
The extremely high content of vitamin A in sweet potatoes can benefit your health in numerous ways. Vitamin A plays a role in boosting your immunity.
This vitamin also helps to maintain healthy vision. Vitamin A deficiency can have a host of negative side effects, from dry eyes to decreased night vision. (Source)
One serving of sweet potatoes contains 65 percent of your daily value of vitamin C. It has strong antioxidant properties, and reduces your risk of high blood pressure. (Source)
Sweet potatoes with orange flesh contain the pigment beta-carotene. This is a type of antioxidant that promotes healthy skin and eyesight.
Beta-carotene is also capable of fighting off free radicals in your body. These are harmful molecules that can damage your cells, potentially causing disease. (Source)
Purple-fleshed sweet potatoes are also an excellent source of antioxidant compounds, such as flavonoids.
These substances have potential anticancer and anti inflammatory abilities. (Source)
Vitamin B6 is associated with lower risk of heart disease. B6 is important towards supporting overall health.
A deficiency of this nutrient is associated with depression, dry skin, and certain cancers.
It may also relieve the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Some studies have shown vitamin B6 can alleviate morning sickness during pregnancy. (Source)
Two servings of sweet potatoes (400 grams) is worth more than half of your daily recommended intake of B6!
The minerals in these tasty vegetables are nourishing as well. Potassium can help lower blood pressure.
Are Sweet Potatoes Paleo-Friendly?
The Paleo diet can be boiled down to one simple principle. If a food or beverage wasn’t available in the Paleolithic era, avoid it!
The Paleolithic era began approximately three million years ago. It ended roughly 12,000 years ago.
Our ancestors during this period were hunter gatherers. They consumed only what could be found or hunted in nature.
Agriculture was nonexistent. Fast food restaurants and sugary snacks were thousands of years in the future.
As a result, the average Paleolithic-era human being was athletic, lean and muscular.
Today, obesity is becoming increasingly common around the world. Our diets generally consist of high calorie foods that are lacking nutrients.
On the Paleo diet, you will be eating only foods that are nutritionally beneficial. Fresh, wholesome items like vegetables, meat and fish will make up the bulk of your diet.
As a vegetable, sweet potatoes are a perfectly acceptable addition to the Paleo diet. (Source)
Are Sweet Potatoes Keto-Friendly?
The ketogenic diet is essentially a low carbohydrate diet. Instead, you will be eating lots of healthy fats – like high fat dairy, olive oil, etc.
The aim of the keto diet is to get your body into ketosis. This is a state your body enters into when it is deprived of food – but don’t worry, you won’t starve!
Instead of restricting food in general, you will be restricting carbohydrates. This works because most of us eat diets that are too high in carbohydrates.
Glucose is produced whenever you eat a carbohydrate-rich food. Your body then burns glucose for energy, storing fat unnecessarily.
If you significantly cut back on carbohydrates, you will enter ketosis. During ketosis, your liver will break down fats and produce ketones.
Ketosis promotes weight loss, improved cognitive performance, and other health benefits.
On this diet, you will be avoiding carbohydrates. This means no processed foods, sugars, fruits, grains or tubers.
As a rule, your diet should consist of 70 percent fats and 25 percent protein. Carbohydrates should comprise five percent or less of what you eat. (Source)
Unfortunately, sweet potatoes are best avoided on the keto diet. Despite being a vegetable, they are high in carbohydrates. (Source)
Is Microwaved Sweet Potato AIP-Friendly?
The autoimmune protocol diet (AIP) is a type of elimination diet. It is targeted at people with autoimmune system disorders, such as multiple sclerosis.
The AIP diet allows its followers to identify what foods may be worsening their illness. At the end of the elimination phase, foods can slowly be reintroduced one by one.
The elimination phase lasts for a period of six to eight weeks. Any foods that are potential irritants are prohibited during this period.
This portion of the diet is highly restrictive. Prohibited items include eggs, dairy products, nuts and seeds, and even certain vegetables.
You will be eating primarily meat, vegetables, fermented foods and healthy fats. Fruit and natural sweeteners (e.g. honey) can be consumed in limited portions.
This AIP allows its followers to identify what foods may be worsening their illness. At the end of the elimination period, foods can slowly be reintroduced one at a time. (Source)
Our Favorite Sweet Potato Recipes
There you have it! Everything you will ever need to know about sweet potatoes. If you’re ready to whip up one for yourself, here are some of our favorite recipes from the blog.
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