Sweet Potato …Leaves?

   This week, in spirit of trying something new, my nutrition mantra , I went out on the “vine” and ordered some sweet potato leaves.  When the big bag arrived I showed the greens to my trusty advisor in all things relating to Chinese food, my ayi, to get her opinion. She gave me an odd look and said that Chinese people usually throw these away and just use the potato. She emphasized that even the country people don’t eat these greens.

However she was game to try them. The recommendation from the purveyor was that you should add them to your salad. I opened the bag and ripped off a few leaves to try.  Well…in my opinion I thought they tasted like dirt. In fairness the ayi did say I should have washed them first and she may have been right on that one. Not put off, I next tried the stem, which did have a very nice flavor, almost a bit sweet.  In the end we gave up on the salad idea and went right to the Chinese cook’s staple, stir fry with onion and garlic…very tasty!

Sweet potato leaves are another one of those overlooked nutrition gems. The leaves  are an excellent source of vitamin A and C , riboflavin and folate, two very important vitamins.  Riboflavin aka B2 is the body’s key to making energy, it starts the process that frees up energy from the carbohydrates we eat and as well as being the metabolic bridge that our bodies need to use niacin ( B3), very important to cardiac health .

Folate is vital for females of child bearing age as adequate folate levels reduce the risk of birth defects in any potential baby.  For the rest of us folate is an essential part of red blood cell production.

Being a dark green veggie automatically makes sweet potato leaves high in important antioxidants, substances that help protect us against all forms of chronic disease and promote eye health.  On top of  these nutrition benefits, sweet potato leaves are a great source of fiber  (automatic method of detox)  and a good source of protein. As an added bonus they are a very low GL  (glycemic load) food.

From a nutrition standpoint these greens should go in the super food category. From the Eat Well standpoint I think there are probably many creative ways to include them in your diet, even in your salad!

Eat Well, Live Well, Have Fun!


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