This hearty dish is a warming, healthy addition to cold-weather meals
One thing I've found to be true in 26 years in the health field: you can trick your sweet tooth by feeding it nutritious fare. Case in point: the delicious pairing of sweet potatoes and apples.
Sweet potatoes are a tasty nutrient powerhouse, very high in potassium (which helps mitigate the negative impact of all the sodium hidden in our prepared foods), not to mention fiber and vitamin A. And apples, well, they're the original medicinal food-loaded with natural anti-inflammatory agents such as quercetin. Plus, they're naturally juicy and sweet to boot. Combine the two, and you're in for a major treat.
This smooth, naturally sweet soup (with a little kick!) is super high in fiber, muting the impact on your blood sugar. Including sweet, fiber-rich dishes like this in your diet really can help calm those cravings. Just think of it as an upgraded, healthier version of the sugar-laden "yams with marshmallows" dish that makes an appearance on so many holiday tables.
Featured Nutrient: Ginger
In Ayurvedic (Indian) medicine, ginger is known as the "universal remedy." No wonder. This little plant contains a whole pharmacy of ingredients with multiple health benefits. My colleague Kris Gunnars of Authority Nutrition, says "Ginger is one of the very few ‘superfoods' that are actually worthy of that term." I agree.
Many people are already aware of ginger's awesome ability to soothe an upset stomach and end nausea. By stimulating saliva, it may also help digestion. And ginger ale has long been a favorite for upset stomach for a very good reason: It works. In one study, ginger performed better than Dramamine in warding off seasickness. Studies from Denmark found that almost 75 percent of pregnant women who used ginger experienced relief from their morning nausea without side effects.
But ginger does a lot more than just settling your stomach. Research shows that it's a powerful antioxidant, and has strong anti-inflammatory properties as well. In one study of 247 people with osteoarthritis of the knee, people taking ginger extract required less pain medication and experienced less pain.
Animal studies show that ginger can protect against age-related decline in brain function, and in one human study, ginger extract improved both working memory and reaction time.
Studies also demonstrate positive effects on the gastrointestinal tract, the cardiovascular system, pain, and fever. No wonder that hot ginger tea with lemon is such a popular home remedy!
Notes from the Clean Food Coach
Want to save some time on the big cooking day? You can make this soup a day or two ahead and reheat on Thanksgiving, or make it in the slow cooker instead. To free up your stovetop, omit the butter and add the onion, celery, sweet potatoes, and apples to a slow cooker. In a large bowl, whisk together the broth, garlic, fresh ginger, maple syrup, ground ginger, cinnamon, salt, and chipotle and pour over the fruit and veggies. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 5-6 hours or until the sweet potatoes are very tender. Follow the stovetop recipe directions to purée and serve.