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Nuts for Sweet Potato Casserole!

Protein from nuts and seeds is better for your heart

Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day you’ll surely see a few staple dishes get passed across the familial table; cranberry sauce, roasted turkey and sweet potato casserole are just a few.  Though they tend to conjure an ohhh soo sentimental feeling – they’re not always that healthy for you. 

A recent study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology inspires us to make our sweet potato dishes one step healthier by incorporating results from a recent protein study.  Researchers looked at diet surveys from over 81,000 people over 5 years and then followed up about 9 years later.  Results indicated that getting more protein in the form of nuts and seeds as opposed to animal protein was associated with a reduction of cardiovascular disease (CVD) by 40%!  When participants had a diet rich in proteins from animal sources, their risk increased by 60%. 

The average holiday spread usually includes plenty of meat, so why not add some plant protein in the form of nuts to help reduce CVD in a delicious way?  Another nutrition powerhouse, the sweet potato, delivers an excellent source of vitamin A and C and is a good source of fiber, B6 and potassium.  They can be purchased year round, but their season peaks in autumn and early winter.  Often, they’re served up “pudding style”, baked, mashed and topped with gooey marshmallows —a way that unfortunately diminishes their nutritious benefits.  At Dole, we try to avoid the empty calories and added sugar and preserve their natural earthy sweetness with tangy pineapples and cinnamon.  Add a healthy sprinkle of your favorite toasted nuts to this recipe to add a dose of heart health goodness.

Published December 1, 2018

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