In honor of National Sweet Potato day today I am going to talk about why sweet potatoes are great for athletes and some ways to enjoy them!
Let’s take a look at some of the nutrition highlights for: 1 medium sweet potato…
Calories: 100 Kcals
Fat: 0 g
Carbohydrates: 24 g
Dietary Fiber: 4 g
Protein: 2 g
Potassium: 15% DV
Manganese: 28% DV
Vitamin A: 438% DV
Vitamin C: 23% DV
Vitamin B6: 16%
Now let’s breakdown why this nutrition profile is perfect for athletes…
Sweet potatoes are a great source of complex carbohydrates.
Complex carbohydrates → Fuel for our muscles and our brain
A MUST before exercise to give athletes what their bodies need to complete! Complex carbohydrates are slow digesting carbohydrates that provide athletes with steady energy to perform.
Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A in the form of Beta Carotene. Beta carotene is an antioxidant and antioxidants counteract the oxidative stress in our bodies that can be caused from a hard workout. Since Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin, I always recommend having some fat with your sweet potato to increase the absorption. Drizzling them with peanut butter or tahini is delicious!
Potassium is a type of electrolyte that works with sodium to balance fluids in our bodies. It is important for hydration, and most people are able to obtain the needed amounts of potassium through diet. Potassium also helps muscles contract, helps to regulate your heartbeat and maintain normal blood pressure.
Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant. As discussed with beta carotene, antioxidants counteract the oxidative stress in our bodies that can be caused from a hard workout. Vitamin C is also beneficial for athletes since it enhances the absorption of iron and iron is important for the transport and delivery of oxygen to working muscles.
Fiber helps to keep you full and helps to stabilize blood sugar levels.
Some ways to enjoy sweet potatoes
* I bake them in bulk either in the oven or microwave (when I am short on time) to ease my meal planning!
- As my starch at dinner (with a ¼ of my plate starch, ¼ of my plate protein and ¼ of my plate fruits and vegetables). I love the MyPlate technique!
- Topped with greek yogurt and sauteed spinach as a savory snack
- Topped with almond butter and granola for breakfast
- Topped with a vegetable burger and drizzled with tahini as a light lunch
- Cut up and added to a salad with lentils and feta cheese
PS. Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite foods!
Please share with me your favorite ways to eat sweet potatoes!