Fall is here. So is sweet potato season. These sweet, starchy root vegetables come in a variety of colors-orange, white and purple- and are full of vitamins, fiber, antioxidants, and minerals.

Here are some benefits of sweet potatoes:

  1. Contain antioxidants, which protect your body from free radicals that can damage DNA and trigger inflammation.
  2. Sweet potatoes contain soluble fiber that absorbs water and softens stool. They also contain insoluble fibers that keep the lining of the intestines healthy and strong.
  3. Anthocyanins, found in purple sweet potatoes, have been scientifically found to slow the growth of certain types of cancer cells. They are also believed to protect the brain by reducing inflammation.
  4. Orange sweet potatoes are one of the richest sources of beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is vital to keeping the immune system functioning optimally.

Ways to incorporate sweet potatoes into your diet

  • Baked sweet potatoes: Clean a whole potato, pierce several times with a fork, wrap in foil and bake in the oven for 45-1 hour, depending on how large the potato measures. Top with a pat of butter, cinnamon, chipotle sauce, or even chili for a complete meal.
  • Mashed sweet potatoes: Start with baked potatoes. Once cooled, scoop out the inside of the potato, mash and season to your liking.
  • Sweet potato toast or bread substitute
  • Sweet potato fries: Cut potatoes lengthwise into 1 inch strips. Coat with oil, salt and pepper and bake until crispy for 40-45 minutes.
  • Roasted sweet potatoes: Cut into small cubes, toss with olive or coconut oil, salt and pepper and bake until tender for 30-40 minutes.
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