The delicious jewel-colored sweet potato makes a big splash this time of year, adding health and color to holiday feasts and seasonal dishes. In my new book, Secrets of Longevity Cookbook, I list the sweet potato as one of the top ten foods to eat for your health and longevity. How did I decide on the top ten foods for extending life? During my twenty-plus years of studying centenarians, I discovered that the same ten foods kept recurring again and again in the diets of long-living individuals. In the upcoming year, I plan to write an article every month that highlights each of the ten longevity foods, but in the meantime I cannot think of a more perfect food to throw the spotlight on this month than the sweet potato!
The sweet potato, featured in the recipe that follows, is on my top-ten list of longevity foods and is also a mainstay in traditional holiday recipes. This tasty orange vegetable, which gets its color from its carotenoid antioxidant compounds, helps defend against free radicals, improving eyesight and bolstering the immune system. And check these stats out: sweet potatoes contain higher amounts of beta-carotene and vitamin C than carrots, more protein than rice, and more fiber than oat bran. This nutrient-rich root vegetable is an excellent source of vitamin A, as well as plant sterols, which have cholesterol-lowering properties. Sweet potatoes also help balance the glycemic index in the body, controlling how the body responds to the food you eat and potentially offering support to people with insulin resistance or diabetes.
The sweet potato stars in this centenarian recipe from China, a creamy soup recipe that is one of my favorite dishes. It can also be made ahead of time and frozen for later use. Just remember to reheat the soup slowly over low heat before serving.
1. Put the cauliflower and 2 cups of water into a saucepan, bring to a boil, and cook until the cauliflower is very soft, about 10 minutes. Drain and transfer the cauliflower into a blender or food processor and purée until creamy. Set aside in a bowl.
2. Heat the grapeseed oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 2 minutes, until softened. Add the sweet potatoes and pears, stir well, and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add the stock to the pan and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the sweet potato is soft. Remove from the heat and let cool.
3. Working in batches, purée the soup in a blender or food processor until smooth. Return the soup to the pan, stir in the cauliflower cream, and reheat gently over medium-low heat; do not boil. Season with salt and pepper, to taste; garnish with mint and serve.
You can find plenty of healthy, tasty, and creative recipes for long and healthy living in the Secrets of Longevity Cookbook, available in January 2013, a great companion book to my Secrets of Longevity: Hundreds of Ways to Live to Be 100, available on Kindle.
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May you live long, live strong, and live happy!
This blog is meant to educate, but it should not be used as a substitute for personal medical advice. The reader should consult his or her physician or clinician for specific information concerning specific medical conditions. While all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure that all information presented is accurate, as research and development in the medical field is ongoing, it is possible that new findings may supersede some data presented.
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