Potatoes are one of Mother Nature’s best-kept secrets. This delicious, family-favorite vegetable is not just good but good for you. With just 110 calories, one medium, skin-on potato provides 45% of your daily value of vitamin C and more potassium than a banana. There are hundreds of innovative and healthy ways and reasons to make potatoes part of your dinner. So go on, unearth all the goodness of potatoes!
Potatoes are an integral part of much of the world’s food supply, with being available in all parts of the globe. They are a starchy vegetable that grow and roots or stems of a plant. The potato is best known for its carbohydrate content (approximately 26 grams in a medium potato). The predominant form of this carbohydrate is starch. As a result of this high value of carbohydrates in potatoes, they are often considered bad for health. In case you are suffering from high blood sugar, potatoes are completely banned for you.
However, if you look at potatoes closely, you would realize that the major culprits of the side effects of potatoes are not potatoes itself but the way we cook them. Potatoes are often deep fried, mixed with cream and mayonnaise and other fatty products such as butter. As a result of which, we seldom get the health benefits potatoes can offer to us.
We bring to you all the goodness of potatoes and how you can ensure that you get all the health benefits potatoes provide.
Please refer to other tabs such as Cleaning and Preparation, Nutrients and Health Benefits to understand the various health benefits potatoes can bring to you.
Source of Information on Health Benefits Potatoes bring
A small but significant portion of the starch in potatoes is resistant to digestion by enzymes in the stomach and small intestine, and so reaches the large intestine essentially intact. As a result of which, this resistant starch has similar physiological effects and health benefits as fiber. However, a lot depends on how the potatoes are stored and cooked to ensure that the health benefits reach the consumer.
Storage: Potatoes should be kept in a cool, dark place with good ventilation. The ideal storage temperature is 45 to 50 degrees F. At these temperatures, the potatoes will keep for several weeks. Do not store potatoes in the refrigerator, as a temperature below 40 degrees F. will cause the potatoes to develop a sweet taste. This is due to the conversion of starch to sugar, which causes potatoes to darken when cooked.
Cleaning & Cutting: Most of the nutrients of the potatoes are preserved in case they are eaten with their skin. Therefore, for new potatoes, a gentle scrubbing using a vegetable brush under running water shall suffice. In case you want to peel the potatoes, use a peeler rather than a knife to ensure that you peel as thin as possible.
Sometimes potatoes that are cut and uncooked take on a pinkish or brownish color. This is due to the carbohydrate in the potatoes reacting with Oxygen. The discoloured potatoes do not need to be thrown out as they are safe for consumption. You can store cut potatoes in cold water with a dash of lime juice of vinegar to prevent this discoloration as well.
Special Steps: Potatoes are considered to be very high is starch and carbohydrates, which is undesirable for majority of consumers. In case you want to reduce the starch content in the potatoes, it is advisable to cut the potato in small pieces and soak them in cold water for an hour or two. Gently rinse them once in a while to remove more starch. You will see that the water turns murky white, which is due to the starch released by the potatoes.
In case you need to further reduce the starch content, put then for a few minutes in boiling water. Ensure that you put the potatoes in the water when it is already boiling, else it would cook the potatoes itself. Once taken out from the boiling water run then under cold water to stop the cooking process.
Potato sprouting leads to the conversion of starch into sugar, so you should avoid eating sprouted potatoes. 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 “never eat 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.
Mineral Content: If you eat potatoes regularly, you ensure a good supply of water and ions in your body. This is because potatoes are rich in potassium. The concentration is highest in the skin and just beneath it. So, eating the potato with its skin is always beneficial. Potatoes also contain calcium, iron, and phosphorus.
Vitamin & Compounds: Natural potatoes are known for the large amounts of Vitamin C present in them. Typically, 100 gm of potato will contain about 17 mg of Vitamin C. In addition to this, natural potatoes also contain Vitamin A, B and P.
Water Content: Potatoes looks very big in size, but water accounts for about 70-80 percent of the weight of a potato. So the belief that you become fat by eating potatoes is a misconception. Of course if your potato servings contain large quantities of butter, or if you can’t keep away from those high-fat and high-cholesterol French fries, then you are bound to become overweight.
Carbohydrate Content: Potatoes contain about 17% starch and it is one of the best natural sources of starch.
Potatoes are one of the most common and important food sources on the planet, and they contain a wealth of health benefits that make them all the more essential as a staple dietary item for much of the world’s population.
Bone health: The iron, phosphorous, calcium, magnesium and zinc in potatoes all contribute to the building and maintaining of bone structure and strength.
Iron and zinc play crucial roles in the production and maturation of collagen.7 Though phosphorus and calcium are both important in bone structure, the careful balance of the two minerals is necessary for proper bone mineralization – consumption of too much phosphorus with too little calcium intake can result in bone loss.
Blood pressure: Maintaining a low sodium intake is essential to lowering blood pressure, however increasing potassium intake may be just as important because of its vasodilation effects. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, fewer than 2% of US adults meet the daily 4700 mg recommendation.5
In addition, potassium, calcium and magnesium (all present in the humble potato) have been found naturally to decrease blood pressure.
Heart health: The potato’s fiber, potassium, vitamin C and vitamin B-6 content, coupled with its lack of cholesterol, all support heart health.
Potatoes contain significant amounts of fiber, which helps lower the total amount of cholesterol in the blood, thereby decreasing the risk of heart disease. In one study, those who consumed 4069 mg of potassium per day had a 49% lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease compared to those who consumed less potassium (about 1000 mg per day).5
Vitamin B-6 prevents the buildup of a compound known as homocysteine. When excessive amounts of homocysteine accumulate in the body, it can damage blood vessels and lead to heart problems.
Inflammation: Choline is a very important and versatile nutrient in potatoes that helps with sleep, muscle movement, learning and memory. Choline also helps to maintain the structure of cellular membranes, aids in the transmission of nerve impulses, assists in the absorption of fat and reduces chronic inflammation.4
Cancer: Potatoes contain folate, which plays a role in DNA synthesis and repair, thus preventing the formation of cancer cells from mutations in the DNA.6
Fiber intake from fruits and vegetables like potatoes are associated with a lowered risk of colorectal cancer. Vitamin C and quercetin function as powerful antioxidants that help protect cells against free radical damage.
Digestion and regularity: Because of their fiber content, potatoes help to prevent constipation and promote regularity for a healthy digestive tract.
Weight management: Dietary fibers are commonly recognized as important factors in weight management and loss by functioning as “bulking agents” in the digestive system. These compounds increase satiety and reduce appetite, making you feel fuller for longer and thereby lowering your overall calorie intake.
Metabolism: Potatoes are a great source of vitamin B-6, which plays a vital role in energy metabolism by breaking down carbohydrates and proteins into glucose and amino acids. These smaller compounds are more easily utilized for energy within the body.
Skin: Collagen, the skin’s support system, relies on vitamin C as an essential nutrient that works in our bodies as an antioxidant to help prevent damage caused by the sun, pollution and smoke. Vitamin C also promotes collagen’s ability to smooth wrinkles and improve overall skin texture.
Like any other food, potatoes as well, if consumed in large quantities and not properly consumed properly may lead to certain health issues.
Blood Sugar/ Diabetes: Potatoes, particularly peeled potatoes, have a high glycemic index which means that they might dramatically impact your blood sugar. After eating a high-glycemic meal, your blood sugar and insulin rise higher. Because of this, eating potatoes in large quantities or on their own might increase your risk of blood sugar imbalances. Potato chips and french fries are also high-glycemic. To guard against blood sugar imbalances, consume potatoes with the peels on with low-glycemic foods, such as whole grains or low-fat milk.
Arthritis: Potatoes have also been known to aggravate the pain of arthritis in some patients who are allergic to Solanin which is present in potatoes sometimes.
Potatoes are the most versatile vegetable found all across the globe, therefore, there are many tasty recipes that use potatoes.
- Lemon Roast Potatoes: These potatoes are good with anything but especially good with seafood. First had them at a friend’s dinner party, served with dilled salmon, and of course had to have the recipe.
- Oven Roasted Potatoes: A great roasted potato side dish made with olive oil and herbs.
- Cod, potato & spring onion stew: Inspired from Icelandic and Danish cuisines, the stew of salt Cod is a perfect recipe for an exquisite recipe for dinner.