Potatoes are a very popular food and consumed frequently in several forms: fried, boiled, baked or as an ingredient in many dishes. They are generally regarded as a typical weight-gain food; but on the contrary, when they are prepared healthily, they are a highly nutritious vegetable with abundant health benefits.
What’s so special about potatoes?
- They are rich in complex carbohydrates which are the main source of energy for the body!
- They are rich in fibre, which is beneficial for a healthy digestive system and may help reduce the risk of some cancers and possibly heart disease. One medium potato with skin contains three grams of fibre and when we need 25 grams per day, this accounts for 12 percent of the recommended daily intake for fibre.
Since they are a good source of carbohydrates and full of fibre (when eaten with the skin), they make you feel full after eating, and so are recommended to be eaten in a weight-loss diet within a balanced main meal (containing vegetables and meat).
What are the important nutrients in potatoes?
- Potassium: potatoes are known for their high content of potassium which is an important mineral that helps lower blood pressure.
- Vitamin C: did you know that potatoes contain vitamin C? Yes, a medium potato contains about 20 mg, which covers about 20% of our daily needs! Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant that protects body cells from damage. It also produces the collagen that helps hold bone tissue together.
- Vitamin B6: an essential vitamin for the digestive and the nervous systems.
Potatoes also contain a variety of phytonutrients that have been shown to help the body fight disease due to their antioxidant activity.
Did you know that potatoes are not high in calories when cooked healthily?
|1 medium baked or boiled potato with skin||15 strips of fried potatoes|
|80-100 calories||190-200 calories (72 calories from fat)|
|Traces of fat||8 g fat|
|3 g fibre||0 g fibre|
|Is it true that diabetics should not eat potatoes?
It was previously recommended for diabetics to avoid eating potatoes because they increase blood glucose (high Glycemic index). But to date, there have been no well-controlled, long-term human studies to examine the effects of Glycemic index on body weight regulation, obesity and diabetes. So, diabetics can have the benefits of potatoes by consuming it in moderation and if it has been prepared in a healthy way.
Did you know?
Potatoes are recommended for stomach ulcers and high stomach acidity.
How to Enjoy Potatoes
- To maximize the benefits of potatoes, don’t peel it! Eat it with its skin, as most of the dietary fibre and nutrients in potatoes are concentrated just under the skin.
- Stay away from fried potatoes and chips. Enjoy them baked, steamed or boiled.
- Instead of adding butter, sour cream, melted cheese and other fatty additives to baked potatoes, try eating them with steamed vegetables or low-fat yoghurt or cheese.
- Use potatoes in stews and soups to add some thickness and texture. And don’t forget to try different varieties of potatoes.