I simply LOVE sweet potatoes! Unlike other people, I eat them just as they are...no butter, salt, sweeteners or anything. As a child, my fondest memories were of my mom making after-school snacks for my siblings and I. She was really good at making sure we had treats which were healthy for us and sweet potatoes were one of them. Yes, we love this orange root vegetable in pies, souffles and even as a potato fry, but there's nothing like a piping hot potato, straight out of the oven with the skin barely hanging on to the soft caramelized flesh. They simply have a natural sweetness which can satisfy sweet-toothed people like me.
Since my focus leans toward more alkaline-based foods and recipes, I wanted to include sweet potatoes into my green eating plan. I created this Sweet Potato Greens Salad so that I can enjoy the best of both worlds. I also included other greens and bitter herbs such as dandelion and cilantro, both of which are blood cleansers and healing for the body. This recipe would not be complete without a simple Honey Mustard dressing which is a perfect accompaniment. The grain mustard has just the right balance of vinegar and spice which really brings out the sweetness of the potato.
According to several medical studies and case studies, the benefits of sweet potatoes include:
What Are Sweet Potatoes Good For?By far, one of the most beneficial nutritional aspects of sweet potatoes is that they are an unusually high resource of vitamin A. In fact, no other food on the planet contains more vitamin A than sweet potatoes! This is one reason why they have been used as a valuable healing plant in South American folk medicine for over 5,000 years. Today, studies suggest that it can be useful to treat cancer, diabetes, and inflammatory-based conditions like heart disease. One common theme in both types of uses is that the entire plant should be utilized, not just the tasty root part that we’re used to eating. For example, the journal Carcinogenesis published a study in 2013 evaluating how polyphenol-rich sweet potato greens affect prostate cancer. In the recipe below, you may substitute dandelion greens for sweet potato greens, although it may be difficult to find them.
Dandelions can help the liver in many ways. While the antioxidants like vitamin-C and Luteolin keep the liver functioning in optimal gear and protect it from aging, other compounds in dandelions help treat hemorrhaging in the liver. Furthermore, dandelions aid in maintaining the proper flow of bile, while also stimulating the liver and promoting digestion. Proper digestion can reduce the chances of constipation, which in turn reduces the risk of more serious gastrointestinal issues. Dandelion juice can help diabetic patients by stimulating the production of insulin from the pancreas, thereby keeping the blood sugar level low. Since dandelions are diuretic in nature, they increase urination in diabetic patients, which helps remove the excess sugar from the body. Diabetics are also prone to renal problems, so the diuretic properties of dandelion can help removing the sugar deposition in the kidneys through increased urination. Furthermore, dandelion juice is slightly bitter to taste, which effectively lowers the sugar level in the blood, as all bitter substances do. Consistently lower blood sugar and a more regulated system of insulin release prevents dangerous spikes and plunges for diabetic patients, so dandelion extracts can be a perfect solution!
One of the top health benefits of kale is that it’s a natural detoxifier. It not only helps remove toxins, but also helps eliminate them from your body.
This is due to a component in kale called isothiocyanates (ITCs), which are made from glucosinolates. They’ave been reported to help detox your body at the cellular level.
These ITCs are a powerful “one-two punch” against toxins and free radicals. Toxins in our environment, such as processed foods, pollutants, pesticides and pharmaceuticals, increase the toxic level of the body and increase the chance of disease.
Removing the toxins from you body is an important job. Toxins are destroyed first by antioxidants and then removed (detoxified) with glucosinolates.
Cilantro is a popular herb popular around the globe that resembles flat leaf parsley at first glance, but at first sniff, transports you to the Mediterranean, Mexico, Asia, and India. Cilantro gives a fresh boost of flavor, without the addition of sea salt or other seasonings.
This versatile herb is used in everything from guacamole and salsa, to curries, noodle dishes, and chimichurri sauces of Argentina. Not only does this flavorful, bright herb have unlimited culinary applications, but surprisingly to many people cilantro benefits the body and has many known healing properties.
Cilantro is very low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and the caloric value is nearly nonexistent. It is a good source of dietary fiber, vitamins A, C, E, K, calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium. Just a ¼ cup of fresh cilantro provides 270 IU of Vitamin A, and 16% of the daily value recommended of vitamin K. The vitamin K and calcium content of cilantro help to build strong bones, teeth, and hair. Cilantro is considered the “anti-diabetic” plant in some parts of Europe, and research shows that it helps to lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, supports healthy cardiovascular function, and much more.
So now you see why it's important to consume a variety of plant foods. When you body is suffering from toxification (chemical, biological, environmental) or has been invaded by parasites (worms, yeast-overgrowth), it's vital that we provide out bodies with nutrient-dense, cleansing and healing foods into the body. This will give your body an opportunity to heal and recover on its own, as it was designed to do.
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RECIPE - Sweet Potato Greens Salad
Author: Regina Thomas Dillard
Bake Sweet Potato prior to assembling salad. Be sure to bake until firm, but not soft avoiding a mushy or mashed textures. Allow potato to cool completely before dicing.
5 Lacinto Kale Leaves
5 Dandelion Leaves
1/2 Red Bell Pepper, seeded and chopped
1 Medium Sweet Potato, cubed
1/2 Avocado, diced
1 green onions, chopped (white bottom and green top)
Handful cilantro, chopped
1 Tbsp. Raw Pumpkin Seeds
In a salad bowl, combine all ingredients. Toss well with salad server or by hand. Top with pumpkin seeds. Chill 30 minutes before serving. Serve with Honey Mustard Dressing.
Honey Mustard Dressing Recipe
1/2 c. Coconut Milk
1 tsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Stone Ground Mustard (sub. Dijon Mustard)
1 tsp Honey (sub Agave Nectar
Salt to taste
Combine all ingredients in mixing bowl. Serve with Salad.
Regina Thomas Dillard is the author of "FEED: Living Food Recipes to be Made and Eaten with Love", and founder of Inner + Sanctum Wellness, a business dedicated to assist others as they embark on their holistic journey. All products are handmade and sourced from reputable organic and natural ingredients purveyors.