I don’t think there is any macronutrient as resilient as the auld potato.
It has been cut out of numerous peoples' diets - because it is deemed fattening! And yet shows up day in day out providing us with plenty of nutritious goodness.
#Funfact: The potato is actually low in fat, more about that later...
Potatoes are high in starch, which make them a good source of energy. When people are struggling to manage their blood sugar levels, potatoes can be one of the first things to be cut out.
Why is this?
Potatoes are high in glycemic index i.e. how quickly a carbohydrate food breaks down in the body and increases our blood glucose levels. This doesn’t mean you need to cut the lovely potato out of your diet but you can have a diversity of different carbohydrates in your diet. Or the glycemic index can be lowered by cooking potatoes with fat i.e. olive oil or protein as this can slow the absorption of carbohydrates - slow the spike of blood glucose levels.
Potatoes are also high in resistant starch. Resistant starch acts as a prebiotic which ferments in the large intestine and feeds the good gut bugs (you want to keep these guys happy). Also resistant can help to lower the blood sugar spike mentioned above. Resistant starch can be better retained by baking, microwaving instead of boiling.
Eat your skins:
That is one thing I say to my family and clients. I'm pretty sure I learned about this in college and since then 9/10 times I eat the skins. Potato skins are a great source of insoluble fibre. Which means it is a indigestible carbohydrate that helps us poop more easily. The flesh of the potato also contains soluble fibre. Soluble fibre is dissolved in the body but cannot be digested. It helps with the slow absorption of glucose i.e. helps control blood sugar levels.
Myth Busting: Potatoes are not fattening
#Funfact: potatoes are naturally low in fat. Of course real #Irish butter is delicious with potatoes. But just to make sure we are having it in moderation to look after our overall health especially in terms of heart health. So try making your own homemade chips, I have a recipe on my instagram (well my dad’s recipes to be honest).
Vitamins & Minerals
Potatoes are a great source of vitamin C. Interestingly how we cook our potatoes determines the vitamin C content. Up to 50% of vitamin C is lost through boiling. Baking and roasting are better options in terms of vitamin C content. #Funfact frying can enhance retention of vitamin C so therefore crisps can contain a large amount of vitamin C (amongst other things).
Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin i.e. it cannot be synthesized or stored in the body unlike fat soluble vitamins A,D,E and K. We can only obtain vitamin C from a varied balanced diet or through supplementation. What I’m trying to say is potatoes are a great addition to your diet. One medium sized potato can contribute to nearly 50% of your RNI* for vitamin C. *Reference Nutrient Intake (RNI)
Vitamin B6’s role is in protein and carbohydrate metabolism along with cognitive development. One of the richest sources of vitamin B6 is the lovely potato. One cup of boiled potatoes = ⅓ of our RNI for vitamin B6.
When you think of potassium do you immediately think of bananas? Well potatoes contribute to 15% of our daily potassium intake. The role of potassium is to regulate our fluid balance, muscle contractions and nerve signals in our body.
Easy ways to add potatoes into your diet:
Jacket potatoes with beans and cheese (oldie but goodie)
Using them as a base in your curries
Adding them to your breakfast - potato cubes
Using leftover mash for potato cakes/fish cakes
Potato salad (check out my recipe here)
Moral of the story potatoes are great addition to your diet. There's no need to ghost them anymore guys & gals :)