Sweet potatoes just might be the favorite starchy vegetable of the Paleo community – they’re everywhere! These large, starchy sweet tubers (root vegetables) are actually more than 1000 species and 50 genera of plant in the family Convolvulaceae. Did you know that many of the sweet potato plants are actually poisonous?! Yep, out of all those varieties, the one that you’ll see in the grocery store most is called Ipomoea batatas and is native to the tropics in South and Central America. Sweet potatoes have been domesticated for at least 5000 years. I love including them as an excellent, nutrient-dense source of carbs for my family, who love them! I’ve found very diverse ways to include sweet potatoes into my diet, including my AIP friendly vanilla ice cream and sweet potato chips.
Apart from being a great source of complex carbohydrates (starch), sweet potatoes provide a wealth of micronutrients! Per 100g, sweet potatoes contain almost all of your RDV of plant-based vitamin A (89%, but keep in mind that vitamin A precursors are not converted at a rate of 100%); good amounts of vitamins B5 and B6 as well as manganese; and some amount of all the other dietary vitamins and minerals!
Sweet potatoes are largely cultivated internationally, so you’re not likely to find them at your local farmers’ market unless you live in the U.S. southern region (or California) or if you live in a tropical country. Otherwise, you can find these golden nuggets of goodness at your local grocery store!