Why sweet potatoes are good for you
Sweet potatoes are one of the best foods that promote a good night’s sleep. They are full of potassium that helps muscles relax.
The root vegetables also contain magnesium, which promotes GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid) secretion in the brain, a relaxation-inducing neurotransmitter.
Sweet potatoes are a complex carb and they digest slowly. They provide your body with the steady energy it needs to make it through the night in a fasting state.
The vitamin B6 content of sweet potatoes is also a cofactor for a lot of important chemical reactions in the brain, such production of serotonin and melatonin, or the sleep hormone.
The root vegetable contains collagen that has glycine, an amino acid that helps you fall asleep. Glycine also promotes deeper, better quality of sleep.
Additionally, sweet potatoes contain essential antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
A cup (200 g) of baked sweet potato with skin contains:
- 180 calories
- 41.4 g carbs
- 6.6 g fiber
- 4 g protein
- 0.3 g fat
- Vitamin A (769 percent of the Daily Value)
- Vitamin C (65 percent of the DV)
- Manganese (50 percent of the DV)
- Vitamin B6 (29 percent of the DV)
- Potassium (27 percent of the DV)
Sweet potatoes are rich in protein and healthy fat, which makes you feel full after you enjoy a dinner smoothie.
Orange and purple sweet potatoes are full of antioxidants that protect your body from free radical damage. Free radicals are unstable molecules that are linked to DNA damage and inflammation.
Free radical damage is associated with aging and health problems like cancer and heart disease. Eating antioxidant-rich foods like sweet potatoes is good for your overall health.
Finally, sweet potatoes contain fiber and antioxidants that promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria and contribute to a healthy gut.
Sweet potato dinner smoothie
It may seem unusual to drink a smoothie at night, but a dinner smoothie is a simple and no-mess nutritious meal. The recipe below is from Liz Moody’s cookbook, “Healthier Together: Recipes for Two—Nourish Your Body, Nourish Your Relationships.”
This smoothie should be consumed at dinnertime. It includes natural ingredients that promote good sleep if you are anxious and restless. (Related: A nutritionist shares the best natural foods to eat for better sleep.)
This recipe for a sweet potato dinner smoothie makes two servings.
- 2 cups sweet potato, peeled and cubed (steamed and cooled from a medium-sized sweet potato)
- 2 cups spinach
- 2 tablespoons (tbsp) hulled hemp hearts
- 2 tbsp unflavored collagen peptides
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 2 teaspoons (tsp) cinnamon
- 1 ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp allspice
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- 1 small avocado
- 1 banana (fresh or frozen)
- A pinch of fine-grain sea salt
- Ice (optional)
- Put the spinach, chia seeds, hemp hearts, collagen peptides, and three cups of water in a blender. Blend until the mixture becomes smooth.
- Add the avocado, banana, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, sweet potato, vanilla extract, salt, and ice. Blend again until the mixture is very smooth. Serve immediately.
To save time, steam sweet potatoes in batches then refrigerate them for your next batch of dinner smoothies.
You can freeze steamed sweet potatoes by spreading them out on a parchment-lined pan. Leave the pan in your freezer for about four to five hours, or until they’re frozen.
Once the sweet potatoes are frozen, store them in a plastic container so they don’t clump together. You can use either frozen or freshly steamed sweet potato cubes for this recipe.