Sweet Potatoes: For your Indian or your face

Gail Julius, a Lummi Tribal member and Northwest Indian College Traditional Plants & Foods Program Assistant (part of the Cooperative Extension Office), has committed to providing the community with a healthy recipe each month.

This month she is getting sweet on sweet potatoes and the nutrition they can contribute to our diets and nourishment they can provide our skin.

As meals, sweet potatoes can be transformed into salad toppings or tasty fillings for pita or tortilla wraps. They can be fried in olive oil and made into French fries (boil them first). They can be grilled, baked or added to soups or stews, and can even be thrown in to your favorite smoothie.

“There are so many uses for sweet potatoes you can literally not go wrong no matter what recipe you use,” Julius said. “They are sweet additions to any meal.”

But sweet potatoes make more than a great addition to meals – they are also wonderful for our skin, Julius said, and that’s why this month we are featuring a Sweet Potato Facial Mask.

1 sweet potato
1 mango
5 Tablespoon honey (local honey if you can) – this is especially good for dry skin

1. Peel and cut sweet potato
2. Boil sweet potato for 30 minutes or poke holes in it and microwave for 10 minutes
3. While the sweet potato is cooking, cut open the mango and scoop out the insides and place them in a bowl
4. When the sweet potato is done (soft), remove it from heat and let it cool enough so you can scoop out the inside and add it the bowl of mango 
5. Add honey
6. Let cool and then apply to your face or body)
7. Relax for 10 minutes with the mask on and then remove it with warm water

Sweet potatoes contain:
Vitamin B6: Supports your metabolism
Vitamin C: Produces collagen (maintain youthful skin and elasticity)
Vitamin D: Supports immune system health and the thyroid gland
Iron: Supports your energy level and produces red and white blood cells
Magnesium: Is a relaxation and anti-stress mineral
Potassium: An important electrolyte that regulates heart beat and nerve signals
High in Cartenoids: Strengthen eye sight and boost our immunity to diseases; help ward off cancer and lessen the effects of aging
Natural Sugars: These sugars are slowly released into the blood stream, preventing blood sugar spikes that are linked to fatigue and weight gain