The sweet potato is a staple in the traditional Thanksgiving meal and makes a killer alternative to potato French fries, but it’s more than just a delicious part of your holiday dinner or side dish for your burger. This tuberous crop, which can range in color from reddish orange or purple to yellow or white, has a ton of health benefits and should top your list of foods to eat year-round:

-The fiber in sweet potatoes makes it a slow-buring food–your body uses the energy from it more efficiently and it keeps you fuller for longer.

-They’re chock-full of vitamins. Beta-carotene (the precursor to vitamin A) is a potent antioxidant that helps prevent several types of cancer, improves eye health, and repairs sun damage in skin cells. Vitamin B6 breaks down homocysteine, which hardens arteries and blood vessels, vitamin D improves your energy and immune system, and vitamins C and E are important for disease prevention and longevity (not to mention they improve your skin and hair!).

-Sweet potatoes’ anti-inflammatory properties mean they can ease arthritis and asthma.

Potassium lowers blood pressure and boosts heart, brain and nervous system function.

Manganese helps metabolize carbs to regulate blood sugar levels and stabilize your appetite.

-The low glycemic index of sweet potatoes make them an ideal choice for diabetics and those watching their sugar intake.

-Like vitamin D, iron is a great immune system and energy booster.

-Sweet potatoes soothe the stomach and intestines and can even help cure stomach ulcers thanks to its vitamins, potassium and calcium.

Want to expand your horizons beyond mashed SP’s and sweet potato casserole? Try out these recipes for a unique approach to this ridiculously healthy fall favorite: 

Pumpkin & Sweet Potato Moussaka (via Katie at the Kitchen Door)
Crispy Curried Sweet Potato Coins (via Carrots ‘N’ Cake)
Sweet Potato Basil Soup (via PaleOMG)
Savory Sweet Potato Soufflés (via Family Fresh Cooking)
Baked Sweet Potatoes Stuffed with Feta, Olives & Sundried Tomatoes (via Gourmande in the Kitchen)
Sweet Potato Gnocchi (via Oh My Veggies)

What’s your favorite way to enjoy sweet potatoes? How will you be serving them at your Thanksgiving table? Share your recipes!

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