With holiday activities, preparation for gatherings, travel and even jolly red-suited visitors, December can be one of the busiest times of the year. In an effort to keep healthy meals prepared, a stew or soup are excellent options to make in advance and heat up for lunch or dinner. This spicy chicken sweet potato stew is filled with anti-inflammatory ingredients that will help your health, your schedule and is full of flavor. Using a lean meat, such as skinless chicken, and sweet potatoes, which are high in vitamins C and E, will support anti-inflammation. In addition to these two vitamins, sweet potatoes contain alpha and beta carotene, both which reduce inflammation.
There are numerous ingredients that offer anti-inflammatory benefits in this recipe, and many include additional benefits as well:
- Tomatoes: high in the phytochemical lycopene, which is a type of carotenoid with antioxidant properties and a good source of vitamin C. Together, these nutrients can increase antioxidant activity, reduce inflammation, and lower cholesterol.
- Bell peppers: especially the bright-red ones, are high in antioxidants and low in starch. Similar to spicy peppers, sweet bell peppers contain the chemical compound capsaicin, which is known to help reduce inflammation and even pain.
- Red kidney and pinto beans: excellent sources of fiber and phytonutrients.
Anti-inflammation is often key to managing the impact of arthritis as it can limit joint pain, stiffness and swelling. It’s essential to maintain health throughout the year, and especially during busy times, focusing on diet and health can limit its impact and allow you to enjoy the festive time of year.
Spicy Chicken Sweet Potato Stew
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cubed
1 pound cooked chicken breast, cubed
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 ½ arrowroot flour
2 tablespoons water
1 cup frozen corn
1 (16 ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
Heat olive oil in large pot over medium heat before adding onion and garlic. Cook until onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add sweet potato, bell pepper, chicken, tomatoes and 2 cups of water.
Season with salt, chili powder, cumin, oregano, cocoa powder, cinnamon and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil by increasing to a medium high heat.
Dissolve arrowroot flour in 2 tablespoons water and stir in to boiling stew. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until potatoes are tender but not mushy — 10 to 20 minutes. Occasionally stir stew occasionally to keep from sticking.
Once the potatoes are done, stir in corn and kidney beans. Cook a few minutes until hot, then stir in parsley before serving.