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Gluten-free and a high nutrition favorite - sweet potatoes

The ultimate in nutrition - the sweet potato
The ultimate in nutrition - the sweet potatowww.chow.com

You may have heard that sweet potatoes and yams are the same. They are not and WebMD.com points out the differences. On their website, they examine the difference: "Sweet potatoes are often confused with yams, but yams are large, starchy roots grown in Africa and Asia. Yams can grow up to 100 pounds and are rarely available in American supermarkets. Nutritionally, sweet potatoes greatly outweigh yams. Because of the common use of the term "yam," it is acceptable to use this term when referring to sweet potatoes." (http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/5-winter-superfoods-sweet-potatoes-nutrient-profile)

Sweet potatoes for gluten-free eaters provide an amazing amount of nutrition, are very inexpensive, available everywhere, and can be cooked in a variety of ways (even over a campfire, if need be).

Few people know their history. WebMd.com goes on to report, "Sweet potatoes are a Native American plant that was the main source of nourishment for early homesteaders and for soldiers during the Revolutionary War. These tuberous roots are among the most nutritious foods in the vegetable kingdom. They are packed with calcium, potassium, and vitamins A and C... Sweet potatoes contain an enzyme that converts most of its starches into sugars as the potato matures. This sweetness continues to increase during storage and when they are cooked."

Without adding any other ingredients, a sweet potato in its skin plus a teaspoon of water, then wrapped in foil and baked at 350 degrees for one hour will yield a tender, fluffy, sweet side dish that can be served to gluten-free eaters, vegans, vegetarians, and even meat eaters. Also during baking, small variable changes in micronutrient content occur to include a higher content of vitamin C, too.

You don't have to buy high priced, gluten-free pre-packaged foods when there are so many other good fresh choices to enjoy. It helps to get in the habit to research online the thousands of free recipes that are available. They not only provide new uses for regular ingredients (like a sweet potato), but these recipes provide variety to keep mealtime interesting.

Next week we will look at legumes and beans as entrees that again fulfill the most important goals of everyone's nutrition these days - easily available, low priced, nutritious, and tasty too.