Potatoes are often termed as the most harmful food items for people who are overweight or are trying to diet. In case you are diabetic, or are even on the edge of your sugar levels; the first thing that you are advised is to reduce or completely cut the intake of potatoes. However, little would anyone tell you that there is a healthy way of eating potatoes, which can bring you more health benefits than issues.
Traditionally, potatoes have been consumed mixed with butter or cheese or the worst, which is deep fried. However, if you look at it closely, it is not the potato itself that is harmful, but it is actually the preparation of potatoes that makes it harmful. Hey, add so much butter to any vegetable, it is going to become harmful. Deep fry the most nutritious vegetable and it turns bad for health. So why not try different ways of eating potatoes in a healthy way.
So how can you make potatoes healthy? Or at least consume in a manner that it poses the least health risk while preserving all the nutrients.
So what is harmful in eating potatoes, how can you remove it?
The most common element that is considered not good for health is the amount of starch or carbohydrates that are present in potatoes. Therefore, let us first look at removing the high amount of starch from potatoes before eating potatoes.
Before you wash your potatoes, you should ideally cut them into pieces. Rinsing potatoes in cold water leads to removal of starch. However, the amount of starch that is removed from the potato depends on the surface area that is exposed to water during rising. Therefore, in case you want to remove maximum starch from your potatoes, cut them as small as possible before cooking your potatoes (based on the type of recipe that you are going to prepare).
Soak the cut potatoes in cold water for around and hour. In case it is possible, change the water used for soaking, twice or thrice during this time. Changing the water will lead to removal of more starch. You would realize that the water turns murky during the first rinse. The murkiness of the water is nothing other than the excess starch that has been removed from the potatoes. This surely would give you a good feeling before eating potatoes.
In case you want to remove more start, boil the potatoes slightly in hot water (do not boil in excess, so that the potatoes do not become useless for your recipe). Boiling and them rinsing in hot water will lead to further reduction in the starch levels of the potatoes. After removing the potatoes from the boiling water, run them under cold water to stop the cooking process.
Potatoes with sprouts
A sprout of any size in a potato can potentially be toxic. Potato sprouts are considered toxic due to their potentially high concentration of glycoalkaloids, which can exert their toxic effects on the nervous system by interfering with the body’s ability to regulate acetylcholine, a chemical responsible for conducting nerve impulses. Further, when potatoes sprout, the starch in the potatoes is converted into sugar. This implies that you would be consuming sugar directly and also it gives a strange sweet taste to potatoes. When you are buying potatoes, check whether the potato is firm. If the potato is shrunken and wrinkled, it should not be eaten.
Poison is also found in green potatoes. Potatoes turn green if they have had too much exposure to light. According to the NIH, you should “you should never be eating potatoes that are spoiled or green below the skin.” Therefore, when buying potatoes, pick firm ones and do not buy if they have sprouted or have a green tint to the skin.
What is beneficial in potatoes and how can you preserve it?
All the benefits of the potatoes lie in the portion that we often throw away, the SKIN! Therefore, ideally try not to remove the skin while preparation. In case it is absolutely necessary for you to remove the skin for eating potatoes, try to scrape the skin away rather than peeling it. Peeling the skin of the potato takes away a slightly thicker layer along with the skin. However, in case you scrape the potato, the loss of the layer below the skin is minimal.
Here is a look at the possible health benefits of eating potatoes with their skins.
One of the benefits of eating potato skins is increased potassium intake. Potassium helps your body carry out chemical reactions, including reactions used to fuel your metabolism and help your cells generate useable energy from the food you eat.
Potato skins also provide a source of iron, another essential mineral. Iron’s primary function involves supporting red blood cell function. These cells contain large amounts of hemoglobin, a protein that binds to oxygen from the air you breathe, then carries that oxygen throughout your body.
Eating potato skins benefits your health by providing a source of niacin, also called vitamin B-3. Like potassium, niacin helps your cells break down nutrients into useable fuel. It also plays a role in cell communication and new cell development and helps your cells recover from physiological stress.
Eating Potatoes – Healthy Way
Therefore, it is safe to say that it is not the humble potato that is unhealthy to consume, but it is the way we eat it which is unhealthy. Here are some recipes that can help you cook a healthy potato dish.
- Oven ‘Fries’: Coated with olive oil and baked in a hot oven, these fries are soft and buttery inside and crisp on the outside; the perfect combination
- Sweet Potato and Spinach Quesadillas: Need a healthy and easy dish to throw together any weeknight? These quesadillas fit the bill.