Sweet Potato and Black Bean Soup

It’s autumn time! With the change of seasons, I am once again inspired to bring out my fall-inspired recipes. The combination of sweet potatoes, quinoa, and black beans creates a nice, filling soup.

Ingredients:

6 cups water
1 (13-14 ounce) can coconut milk
½ cup quinoa
3 vegetable bouillon cubes (or to taste)
1 tsp. garam masala
1 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. fresh ginger, grated or minced
½ tsp. turmeric powder or 1 tsp. fresh grated
3-4 cups sweet potatoes, cut into small cubes
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

Add water and coconut milk to a medium-large size soup pot. Begin cooking on medium-high heat. Add quinoa, bouillon, garam masala, curry powder, ginger, turmeric and sweet potatoes. Continue to cook until quinoa and sweet potatoes become tender and stew begins to thicken—approximately 40 minutes. Add black beans and cook for a few more minutes. Serve warm or hot.

Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes

Not only are sweet potatoes readily available, inexpensive, and delicious, there are many other reasons to love these yummy vegetables.  Here are 9:

1. They are high in vitamin B6.  Vitamin B6 helps reduce the chemical homocysteine in our bodies.  Homocysteine has been linked with degenerative diseases, including the prevention of heart attacks.

  1. They are a good source of vitamin C.  While most people know that vitamin C is important to help ward off cold and flu viruses, few people are aware that this crucial vitamin plays an important role in bone and tooth formation, digestion, and blood cell formation. It helps accelerate wound healing, produces collagen which helps maintain skin’s youthful elasticity, and is essen­tial to helping us cope with stress. It even appears to help protect our body against toxins that may be linked to cancer.
  2. They contain Vitamin D which is critical for immune system and overall health at this time of year.  Both a vitamin and a hormone, vitamin D is primarily made in our bodies as a result of getting adequate sunlight. You may have heard about seasonal affective disorder (or SAD, as it is also called), which is linked to inadequate sunlight and therefore a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D plays an important role in our energy levels, moods, and helps to build healthy bones, heart, nerves, skin, and teeth, and it supports the thyroid gland.
  3. Sweet potatoes contain iron. Most people are aware that we need the mineral iron to have adequate energy, but iron plays other important roles in our body, including red and white blood cell production, resistance to stress, proper im­mune functioning, and the metabolizing of protein, among other things.
  4. Sweet potatoes are a good source of mag­nesium, which is the relaxation and anti-stress mineral. Magnesium is necessary for healthy artery, blood, bone, heart, muscle, and nerve function, yet experts estimate that approximately 80 percent of the popula­tion in North America may be deficient in this important mineral.
  5. They are a source of potassium, one of the important electrolytes that help regulate heartbeat and nerve signals. Like the other electrolytes, potassium performs many essential functions, some of which include relaxing muscle contractions, reducing swelling, and protecting and controlling the activity of the kidneys.
  6. Sweet potatoes are naturally sweet-tasting but their natural sugars are slowly released into the bloodstream, helping to ensure a balanced and regular source of energy, without the blood sugar spikes linked to fatigue and weight gain.
  7. Their rich orange colour indicates that they are high in carotenoids like beta carotene and other carotenoids, which is the precursor to vitamin A in your body.  Carotenoids help strengthen our eyesight and boost our immunity to disease, they are powerful antioxidants that help ward off cancer and protect against the effects of aging. Studies at Harvard University of more than 124,000 people showed a 32 percent reduction in risk of lung cancer in people who consumed a variety of carotenoid-rich foods as part of their regular diet.2 Another study of women who had completed treatment for early stage breast cancer conducted by researchers at Women’s Healthy Eating and Living (WHEL) found that women with the highest blood concentrations of carotenoids had the least likelihood of cancer recurrence.
  8. 9.  There are versatile. Try them roasted, puréed, steamed, baked, or grilled. You can add them to soups and stews, or grill and place on top of leafy greens for a delicious salad.
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