Winter is here and its time to indulge in some warm and comforting foods. During winters we
are more prone to colds, coughs and viral infections, so this is the time of the year to eat
healthy and keep our body warm. Shakarkandi or sweet potato is one such winter food which
not only gives warmth and comfort but it amazingly healthy too.
Shakarkandi or sweet potato chaat is widely available across various parts of India during
winter months and is one of the most loved street foods in India. Sweet potato is an excellent
source of beta carotene, potassium, vitamin C, magnesium along with some other vitamins
and minerals. Beta carotene is a provitamin found in orange- and yellow-coloured fruits and
vegetables which our body can convert into Vitamin A.
Here are a few reasons why you should include this in your diet this winter:
For immunity and skin health
Sweet potatoes are good source of beta-carotene and vitamin C which help to strengthen the
immune system and help develop resistance to infections. Anthocyanins, which give the
purple colour to sweet potatoes are also powerful antioxidants, which are utilised efficiently
by the body. Beta-carotene in sweet potato also benefits skin by fighting the free radicals that
cause skin ageing. So, for a younger looking supple skin, grab a sweet potato.
For better heart health
Sweet potatoes are rich in fibre. It relieves constipation and reduces risk of cardiovascular
disease by lowering LDL. Potassium in it help to maintain healthy blood pressure levels.
Sweet potato is also a decent source of copper that is essential in making red blood cells and
keeping the heart healthy.
Keeps body warm
Since it’s a root vegetable which are known to have heat producing qualities, its great food to
keep you warm and cosy in winters. It is also a source of natural sugar, so if you need an
extra bit of energy on cold winter days, try sweet potatoes
For better sleep and relaxed mind
Sweet potato is a good source of magnesium. Magnesium calms the mind, reduces stress and
helps in better sleep. Magnesium deficiency is linked to depression, headaches and mood
disturbances. So, for a calm and relaxed mind and a good sleep start consuming sweet
potatoes in winter.
Supports healthy vision
Sweet potatoes are a rich source of beta carotene which gets converted into vitamin Ain the
body . Vitamin A helps in maintaining overall eye health.
Helps stabilize Blood sugar
Sweet potatoes are high in fibre content which may provide more stability for blood glucose.
They can be a small choice of food for people suffering from diabetes because even those
they are starchy food; fibre can help slow down the digestion of sugars resulting in steadier
rise and fall in blood sugar. In any case, portion control is still a very important factor for
diabetes patients consuming sweet potato.
Reducing the risk of cancer
Beta-carotene and vitamin C present in sweet potato are powerful antioxidants which may
help reduce the risk of some types of cancer. Antioxidants can prevent cellular damage
caused by unstable molecules called free radicals. Cellular damage increases risk of many
Looking at the health benefits that sweet potato offers, you must include this in your winter
Following are some popular shakarkandi recipes :
Shakarkandi/ Sweet potato chaat :
The most popular way of having sweet potato is undoubtedly the chaat. Prepare at home or
enjoy as street food, it won’t disappoint you. A plate of chaat is filling, tasty and nutritious all
at the same time. Add some lemon juice, chaat masala and sonth and green chutney to
deskinned roasted sweet potatoes. Mix it and enjoy this heavenly dish.
Sweet potato kheer :
Traditionally cooked with milk, sweet potato kheer tastes delicious and creamy. Add a little
bit of cardamom powder for a delicate aroma. It’s a very popular dish during fasting days in
Sweet potato parantha :
Sweet potato parantha can be easily prepared by incorporating sweet potato puree directly in
the dough similar to thepla.
Baked sweet potato :
Just your favourite sweet potatoes whole in the oven . Peel the skin and enjoy hot with a little
butter if you like.
Sweet potato soup :
It’s a Chinese dessert found in Southern China and Hongkong. It’s a creamy soup made of
sweet potato, carrots, onion, ginger, garlic, pepper and coconut milk
Sweet potato pancakes :
Prepare a sweet potato puree by boiling and deskinning the sweet potatoes and blend it into
Sweet potato salad :
Roasted or boiled sweet potatoes can be cubed and added with other ingredients of your
choice to create a salad.
Sweet potato biscuits :
Incorporating boiled and mashed sweet potato in your cookie or biscuit recipe can give
wonderful results. Sugar can be greatly reduced when using it as it is already sweet
Sweet potato halwa :
If you are craving something sweet on a cold winter day, sweet potato halwa is both quick
and tasty. All you need is sweet potato, ghee, sugar and some nuts. Either you can grate sweet
potato raw or boil them first and mash them before using it for halwa.
A traditional Bengali sweet ‘rangalur puli pithe’ is a sweet potato dumpling stuffed with
coconut mixture fried and soaked in sweet syrup. It is made during Makar Sankrati festival.
Even sweet potato gulab jamun are also a hit recipe. In all dessert recipes sugar can be
replaced with jaggery for a healthier version. In fact, less sugar or jaggery is consumed in all
the recipes as sweet potato is already sweet. For a vegan version ghee can be replaced with
While diabetes and weight watchers can consume sweet potatoes, its important to have strict
portion control to avoid any health complication. For complex health issues its better to
consult your doctor or dietician.