When you think of sweet potatoes, I’m pretty sure your favorite sweet potato casserole topped with gooey marshmallows and the warm, festive feeling of Thanksgiving come to mind. But this phytochemical-rich food is so much more than a tasty side dish. It’s loaded with unique nutritional benefits that can help improve your health and your hair.

The sweet potato is considered an excellent source of natural, health-promoting compounds, such as beta-carotene and anthocyanins. Beta-carotene is a group of natural chemicals known as carotenes or carotenoids. Numerous observational studies have found that people who ingest more fruits and vegetables rich in carotenoids have a reduced risk of several chronic diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.

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Spread the Love: This underappreciated tuber is not only packed full of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and blood sugar-regulating nutrients, it’s also fat free and relatively low in calories. The sweet potatoes in the recipe provide vitamins A, C, E, K and B6, as well as zinc, iron, copper, calcium, potassium, magnesium and niacin, while the chia seeds provide healthy omega-3 fats and iron.Eat your way to healthy hair with this quick and easy Sweet Potato and Chia Seed Hummus recipe that you and your whole family are sure to love. This is a great substitute to traditional hummus and is a wonderful and tasty alternative to dips and spreads.

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Sweet Potato and Chia Seed Hummus Recipe: Makes 4 Servings—Serving Size: ½ cup


  • 15 ounce baked sweet potatoes—skin removed
  • 1 (4 ounce) jar roasted red peppers—drained, blackened skin removed
  • 3 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon fresh garlic—fine dice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chia seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley—chopped

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Procedure: In a food processor, puree the sweet potato, roasted red peppers, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, cayenne, chia seed and salt. Process until the mixture is fairly smooth. Transfer to a serving bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Sprinkle the hummus with chopped parsley before serving.Although sweet potatoes are part of the Thanksgiving tradition, be sure to incorporate this nutritious and naturally sweet vegetable into your meals all year ‘round. Happy holidays!Precious Lopez contributed to this column.