Do you like pancakes?  Who doesn’t!  I love them too.  I grew up in Lithuania, where potatoes are a staple food with almost every meal.  But after eating a serving or two (it’s hard to stop with only few of them) you feel full, stuffed and bloated.

Once I took my dear friends (they are Italian and Malaysian) to a Polish restaurant for dinner and they enjoyed a plate of traditional food including potato pancakes.  In about 30 minutes, they started complaining about feeling ‘like balloons’.

So I decided to experiment with other vegetables to find the satisfaction of white potato pancakes, but with a healthier kick.  You would be surprised how many options there are. My favorites are sweet potato and courgette cakes just to mention few.  You can make them savory or sweet, depending on your mood.

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How is sweet potato a food for fitness?

Sweet potato has more fiber, vitamin A and C, beta – carotene, powerful antioxidant, fewer calories (the average-size serving of sweet potatoes112 calories vs average-size serving of white potatoes 168) and less total carbs despite more sugar than a white potato [1,2].  Estimated glycemic load is only 17 vs 29 in white potatoes. It also has potassium, choline, and other minerals.

Sweet potatoes are a nutritional powerhouse, ideal whether you’re trying to cut carbs and lose weight—or bulk up and build muscle.

Health benefits of sweet potato

sweet potato pancakes_1

In a study published by the Journal of Medicinal Food, purple sweet potato extract was found to have positive anti-inflammatory and anti-lipogenic effects as well as free radical scavenging and reducing activity [3,4].  The antioxidant beta-carotene can help support the immune system, as well as lower the risk of heart disease and cancer [5].

What I really like about using sweet potato is to make pancakes into a tasty treat for your hormonal health.  I work with a lot of woman who have hormonal or skin problems.  Sweet potatoes contain two important antioxidant enzymes: copper/zinc superoxide dismutase and catalase. According to one study, purple sweet potatoes have more than three times the antioxidant activity than that of one blueberry [6].  It is thus important for thyroid and endometrial health, as well as fertility [7].

Ideas for Sweet Potato Pancakes

Sweet potato classic pancakes.  For a healthier version you can substitute all-purpose flour with gram and coconut flour mix, and for a vegan version use egg substitution [8] http://www.vilmaswellness.com/sweet-potato-pancakes-gluten-free-grain-free

Sweet potato latkes or hash.  It’s a savory pancake using raw sweet potatoes and could be served on its own or as a side dish.  A simple example is a recipe by Sarah Fragoso http://everydaypaleo.com/sweet-potato-latkes/

Mixed veggie pancake, like courgette with sweet potato.  Using both courgette and sweet potatoes, you’re getting a good portion of your vegetables for the day.

For a sweeter version you may choose sweet potato and apple/cinnamon pancakes which will give you enough sweetness from potatoes and apple, so you won’t need to use sugar.  I like this simple version of the Paleo recipe by Ellen Christian http://www.confessionsofanover-workedmom.com/2013/10/paleo-pancake-recipe.html

I am sure you could find a variety of recipes to satisfy your taste buds on internet.  Experiment with recipes and enjoy the benefits this healthy vegetable has to offer.

References:

[1] http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2667/2

[2] http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/281438.php

[3] http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/jmf.2010.1450

[4] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21861722

[5] http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/betacarotene

[6] http://foodfacts.mercola.com/sweet-potatoes.html

[7] http://molehr.oxfordjournals.org/content/8/1/68.long

[8] http://www.vilmaswellness.com/egg-substitution

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