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This Easy Hack Makes Sweet Potatoes Way More Blood-Sugar-Friendly

peeled sweet potatos
Image by Nadine Greeff / Stocksy
September 28, 2022
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If you're going to spend time cheffing up a side of veggies, you should probably try to maximize their benefits, no? Similar to how a smoothie may offer more perks than a juice thanks to the added fiber, some vegetables can boast health benefits when prepared one way or another—sweet potatoes included.

We recently sat down with functional medicine expert Amy Sapola, PharmD, director of Farmacy at The Chef's Garden in Huron, Ohio, on the mindbodygreen podcast to chat about how to make these tasty veggies even healthier. Here, find her blood-sugar-friendly trick.

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Why you should boil your sweet potatoes. 

If you're trying to make the most out of your sweet potatoes and mitigate a potential spike in blood sugar, Sapola suggests boiling this veggie rather than roasting it. "The preparation technique for a sweet potato can drastically affect the glycemic impact of that sweet potato," Sapola explains.

To be specific, Sapola says that roasting sweet potatoes can take their glycemic index score from a 60 to a 90—pretty drastic for such a simple change. Now, experts will usually advise against boiling your vegetables, since you lose many of their valuable nutrients in the cooking water. "However, sweet potatoes are a very rare exception," says Sapola, especially when it comes to your blood sugar response. Just be sure to let your potatoes sit in the pot for more than just a few minutes, Sapola says. "Boiling sweet potatoes whole for 20 minutes covered is actually the best way to keep the glycemic impact low," she explains.

After your potato has boiled and cooled, it's time to get creative with preparation. You may opt for a healthier spin on a classic mashed potato side. Or if you're ready to dive into fall, a sweet potato soup can serve as the perfect comfort food. Either way, you'll be soaking up all of the nutrients of the sweet potato while potentially minimizing the following blood sugar spike. And if you'd rather bake your sweet potatoes? That's fine, too: The nutritious veggie boasts plenty of health benefits, even if it does cause a bit of a glucose spike.

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The takeaway. 

If you want to eat sweet potatoes and maintain blood sugar balance, Sapola suggests boiling rather than roasting them. This method will take the glycemic index impact down a few points and maybe even challenge your cooking creativity. Again, if you prefer your sweet potatoes roasted rather than boiled, you'll still reap a host of benefits—read about those here.

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Hannah Frye
Hannah Frye
mbg Assistant Beauty Editor

Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including health, wellness, sustainability, personal development, and more. She previously interned for Almost 30, a top-rated health and wellness podcast. In her current role, Hannah reports on the latest beauty trends, holistic skincare approaches, must-have makeup products, and inclusivity in the beauty industry. She currently lives in New York City.