Holiday Baked Sweet Potatoes

By: Dorine Lam, RDN, MS, MPH

Don't overlook Baked Sweet Potatoes, they are surprisingly rich in vitamin C!Studies have shown that some people with Adrenal Fatigue have high levels of cortisol and other stress hormones, and many of the nutrients in sweet potatoes have been clinically proven to improve these hormones function.

When you think of vitamin C, you probably think of citrus fruits, but did you know sweet potatoes are also rich in this vitamin? Vitamin C is not just good for fighting off colds; it also aids in digestion, promotes blood cell formation, speeds healing, and is a vital component in the production of collagen, to help your skin retain its elasticity. It is also an essential nutrient in making cortisol in the adrenals whichhelps keep your stress levels under control.

Sweet potatoes contain vitamin B6, which helps reduce homocysteine and a much needed nutrient if you have pyroluria. You can read more about pyroluria and Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome. Homocysteine has been link to heart disease and several other degenerative diseases.

Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin D. The best way to get vitamin D is from sun exposure, but it isn’t always possible to get out in the sunshine, especially during the winter months or if you work indoors. If you can’t get in the sun, sweet potatoes are a great alternative. Vitamin D is vital to keeping your energy up, stabilizing your mood, and building healthy bones, nerves, skin, teeth, and heart. Vitamin D also supports the thyroid gland and regulates thyroid hormones.

Baked Sweet Potatoes are also rich in other nutrients, such as vitamin DThe iron in sweet potatoes can help regulate your energy and stress. Iron is necessary for both red and white blood cell production, and transporting oxygen to your cells. It also keeps your immune system working at its peak, and lowers stress levels.

Sweet potatoes are also a good source of magnesium. Studies have shown that most people are at least a little bit deficient in magnesium. If you experience muscle cramps, migraines, restless legs, depression, fatigue, anxiety, or many other symptoms, the magnesium in sweet potatoes may help alleviate them. They also contain potassium, and electrolyte that helps regulate nerve signals and promotes normal heart rhythm.

Sweet potatoes are sweet because of natural sugars that are absorbed into the bloodstream slowly. This prevents blood sugar spikes and helps keep your energy levels steady for hours.

The rich orange color in sweet potatoes comes from carotenoids such as beta carotene. Carotenoids are a precursor to vitamin A, which helps strengthen your eyes and your immune system. Carotenoids are also powerful antioxidants that have been shown to help protect against cancer and to delay many effects of aging. Other research has shown that those who consume foods rich in carotenoids have lower incidence and recurrence of cancers.

Another important nutrient found in Baked Sweet Potatoes is potassiumAll these amazing nutrients in sweet potatoes mean that they help to support the body as a whole. Rather than targeting one area of the body, the nutrients of a sweet potato help support metabolism and provide vitamins and minerals to help form hormones, neurotransmitters, and energy production. This holistic approach is often how imbalances in the body should be approached. This is known as the neuroendocrine metabolic (NEM) response. This response takes into account the body as a whole, made up of many systems that must all work together and be supported to ensure health in the body.

As if this weren’t enough reason to love sweet potatoes, they are incredibly versatile. When you’re not enjoying them in this Holiday Baked Sweet Potato recipe, try roasting or steaming them. Try grilling them and adding to a delicious salad or add a bit of onion and pepper when grilling for an amazing wrap. You can even puree them for a delicious smoothie or add to baked goods for added nutritional punch.


  • 2-3 large sweet potatoes
  • 2/3 cup crushed pineapple, liquid drained
  • 1 tbsp applesauce
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp grated orange zest (optional)
  • 2 tbsp walnuts, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pierce sweet potatoes twice with a knife or fork.
  2. Bake 50 minutes or until soft. Set aside and let cool, still keeping warm. Reduce oven to 325 degrees.
  3. Cut sweet potatoes in half, lengthwise. Scoop out the flesh and place in medium bowl, try not to break the skin. Set skins aside.
  4. Add pineapple, applesauce, butter, sugar, orange zest and salt to potato flesh. Mix well.
  5. Place skins on baking sheet and fill with sweet potato mixture. Bake 15 minutes. Sprinkle with walnuts and bake 5 more minutes.

Serves 4-6

© Copyright 2015 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.