Sweet potatoes are not only delicious, but the flesh of these orange root vegetables is packed with both nutrition and health benefits. While most starchy vegetables can negatively affect blood sugars, sweet potatoes can actually help regulate blood sugars. Food starches are broken down in the digestive tract into simple sugars; foods with high concentrations of starch can release too much simple sugar into the digestive tract. A sudden elevation of blood sugar levels results. Sweet potatoes can improve blood sugar regulation – even in individuals with type 2 diabetes.
Sweet potatoes can also increase blood levels of adiponectin in persons with type 2 diabetes. Adiponectin is a protein hormone produced by fat cells, and is an important factor in insulin metabolism. Individuals with healthy insulin metabolism tend to have higher levels of diponenctin, while individuals with less well – regulated insulin metabolism and/or insulin insensitivity tend to have lower levels of adiponectin. Sweet potatoes are enjoyed worldwide; they are loaded with vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, blood sugar-regulating nutrients, and possess anti-inflammatory properties.
Choose firm sweet potatoes with no cracks, bruises or soft spots. Cold temperatures have a negative impact on the flavor of sweet potatoes, so be sure to store them in a cool, dark, well-ventilated place. Sweet potatoes stored in this manner will stay fresh for at least a couple of weeks (frequently even longer). If you purchase sweet potatoes which have been grown organically, you can eat the entire sweet potato, skin and all; otherwise they should be peeled before eating, as the skin may have been treated with dye or wax.
2nd Street Market vendors have everything you will need for this recipe excepting the tomatoes (it IS still February). Garber’s and Hydrogrowers can set you up with the vegetables, and The Spice Rack has everything else. Throw it all in the slow cooker for a few hours and come back to delicious, healthy comfort food!
Sweet potato, quinoa and black bean chili in the Crockpot
- 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed well in cool water
- 3 cups cooked black beans (about 2 [15-ounce] cans, drained)
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 2 (14-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon unprocessed sea salt
Add all ingredients to a 3-quart slow cooker; cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 5-6 hours. Add additional salt and pepper if you like, and serve topped with sour cream, shredded cheese, crackers, etc. Keeps in the refrigerator for 3 days, but freezes extremely well!