February is a time to celebrate love, Black History Month, American Heart Month, and Cancer Prevention Month. It’s also National Sweet Potato Month, which oﬀers a great excuse to get cozy with one of the most nutritious vegetables on the planet. Interestingly sweet potatoes play a role in all of this month’s celebrations. They’re a staple tuber in the traditional African heritage diet (make this Sweet Potato Peanut Stew and you’ll never be the same!), and they oﬀer nutritional beneﬁts that support heart health and cancer prevention.
It’s no wonder that sweet potatoes have been part of American culture, and a part of heritage diets, for centuries. Pureed, mashed, roasted, or baked, there are countless ways to enjoy their nutritious goodness and sweet, deep ﬂavor. Plus there are hundreds of types of sweet potatoes, ranging from mild white to deep super-sweet red — all of which boast a nuanced diﬀerence in taste and texture. If you’re looking for a potato that is creamy and ﬂuﬀy, a white tater is best; for a dense, caramelized ﬂavor, try deep orange or red.
In addition to great ﬂavor and texture, sweet potatoes deliver on nutrition, too, providing vitamins A and C, ﬁber and antioxidants, while being low in calories. For those who are diagnosed with diabetes, sweet potatoes are low on the glycemic index and may play a role in lowering blood sugar. Last year we worked with the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission to develop this toolkit, full of information about these delightful tubers ranging from a brief history to easy ways to cook and a lot of recipes. Health professionals and health curiosos alike can ﬁnd the ONE Toolkit here for free download.
Wondering about the diﬀerence between a yam and a sweet potato? Here’s a pop quiz to set you straight. And remember, if your mama called them yams you will too, even if what you’re cooking is really a sweet potato.
Check out these 10 Creative Ways to Eat More Sweet Potatoes. We hope your February is extra-sweet with these tips!