Sweet potatoes are well know for their health benefits: they are rich in the anti oxidant beta carotene (which converts to Vitamin A in the body), essential for great hair, skin, nail and bone health, packed full of Vitamin B6 (a great energy booster), and full of Vitamin C, a must at this time of year as our immune systems lower due to cold temperatures and decreased daylight.
However sweet potatoes can be wonderful for our gut health too, if we prepare them in the right way. By cooking and cooling them (in this case freezing) we create something called 'resistance starch'. You can think of resistance starch as a superfood for your gut bacteria - we don't digest it but the colony of good bacteria in our large intestine does! Not only does it feed the good bacteria in this part of the digestive tract, when digested in this way a short chain fatty acid (SFCA) called Butyrate is produced, which in turn feeds the good bacteria in our colons.
Eating Resistance Starch can have a number of other benefits too, it can improve insulin sensitivity, lower the GI of a food, reduce appetite, and reduce inflammation in our digestive tracts.
Other great sources of resistant starch include TigerNuts (one of my faves), grains, seeds and legumes, green bananas, and can be produced in foods such as potatoes and rice by cooking and cooling them (but not re-heating).
For maximum benefits (and especially if you eat currently eat a diet that is low in fiber) add a little resistant starch in to your diet day by day, to give your GI tract time to get accustomed to the new food source. Eventually you can aim for 15-50 grams a day (two to four tablespoons), but tolerance will vary from person to person, so take it slow and steady!
One of my favorite sources of resistance starch is frozen sweet potato, as it so economical and easy to prepare. These sweet potatoes were cooked in the slow cooker (around 5 hours on high), then cooled, peeled and frozen. The longer you leave them in the freezer the more resistant starch they will have (up to a month) but you will see benefits even from just freezing them overnight.
Frozen sweet potatoes make a great addition to a Superfood Smoothie, and I've made the recipe below for both Husband Hanway and I the last three days in a row because its just so good!
Sweet Potato Smoothie
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smoothie. Top with crushed pecans or hemp seeds.
If you like this recipe you will love my Apple Pie Smoothie - check it out here!