Can Potatoes Be Good for You?
By Eman Faisal
With everyone afraid of carbohydrates, we’ve come to consider potatoes as a food best avoided, but this oddly shaped vegetable actually contains many healthy nutrients.
Potatoes for Health
A recent study published in the journal Science of Food and Agriculture shows that the nutrients contained in potatoes, such as fiber, phenolics, protein and starch, have properties that can help prevent some of the worlds’ most prevalent diseases.
Eating potatoes with other high-fiber foods can help manage high blood sugar. This is because fiber slows the absorption of sugar in the blood. Potatoes include antioxidants which can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes and protect your health.
Potatoes are a very satiating food, which means they can help you reduce your desire to snack between meals. This in turn helps you regulate your appetite and manage your weight.
Cancer is characterized by an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells. Chlorogenic acid, found in potatoes, has been shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells, protecting you from stomach cancer, colon cancer, and lung cancer.
Getting the Most Nutrients from Potatoes
But do you know that the way you cook potatoes at home can determine how many nutrients you keep in them?
A research study done at Zhejiang University in China compared different cooking methods to see how they affect the quantity and quality of nutrients in potatoes. The study concluded that steaming and microwaving are the healthiest ways to cook potatoes, as they keep most of the nutrients, and therefore health benefits.
Other factors can affect the nutrients found in potatoes such as:
Cooking potatoes on low heat is a healthier choice, as it can help conserve the phenolics in potatoes, which act as antioxidants in your body and can help prevent diseases like cancer.
2. Cooking time
The shorter the time you expose potatoes to heat the better, because this reduces the number of nutrients lost and prevents the formation dangerous substances. But this doesn’t mean you should start flash-frying your potatoes! In fact, the best thing to do is to chop them into bite-sized chunks—as these will take a shorter time to cook—and steam them.
There’s more than one type of potato. While they all contain more or less the same amount of carbohydrates and calories, different color potatoes, such as yellow, red, and blue, contain pigments (carotenoids and flavonoids—different antioxidants) that protect your immune system. While sweet potatoes don’t belong to the same family of plant, they are a good option because they contain more manganese than regular potatoes, and are high in beta-carotene.
Potatoes and Weight Gain
Many people believe eating potatoes will make them gain weight. But don’t worry—potatoes can be part of a healthy varied diet!
A study by the Harvard School of Medicine followed 124,086 men and women between 1986-2011 to monitor changes in their body weight based on their dietary intake. Interestingly, the study found that people who consumed more food that is rich in flavonoids, such as potatoes, maintained their normal body weight over the years and were healthier overall.
You don’t have to cut out potatoes from your diet! They are a great source of healthy nutrients and can help you boost your wellbeing and maintain a healthy weight. Swap your French fries for some hearty home-made mashed potatoes and love your body with healthy food! Why not give our super quick and tasty recipe a try today?
Healthy Mashed Potatoes
Peel the potatoes and cut them into quarters. This quick and easy, healthy mash makes a delicious side dish to a hearty stew.
- 1kg potatoes (for a smooth mash opt for Russet potatoes; if you prefer more texture,
- try Yukon varieties)
- 3 garlic cloves (peeled)
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp dried rosemary (you can use other herbs such as oregano, chives, sage or thyme)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Black pepper (to taste)
- Peel the potatoes and cut them into quarters.
- Place the pieces in a large pot with the garlic cloves. Cover with water and bring to the boil.
- Reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender (10-20 minutes depending on the size).
- Drain, then mash the potatoes and garlic using a potato masher or hand held blender.
- Stir in the olive oil, rosemary, pepper and salt.
- Serve as a side dish and enjoy with your favorite dinner!