The Health Benefits of White Potatoes

The Health Benefits of White Potatoes

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Background

White potatoes come from the plant Solanum tuberosum. They are a starchy, tuberous plant meaning a storage source of nutrition for the plant during winter months. There are more than 100 varieties of potatoes but I am going to focus on the common white potatoe.

White Potatoes are the 4th highest consumed crop in the world behind rice, wheat and corn. In the United States, it is the #1 vegetable in sales, production and consumption. Potatoes are relatively inexpensive to grow and are adaptable to a wide variety of climates. The ease of production and storage contributes to their global increase in demand.

Consumption of the white potato in the US has declined in the last 50 years. This is likely in part due to the misconception that they are linked to obesity and diabetes. This concern can be linked to how the food is prepared. There has been ⅔ increase in processed potato including products like potato chips and french fries over the last 50 years.

Nutritional content

Per 100g, white potatoes have 94 calories. Surprisingly, per 100g this is less than white or wheat pasta, white or brown rice, soybeans or yams. It’s about the same as sweet potatoes.

100g also contains 2g protein, 0g fat, 21g carbs, and 2.1g of dietary fiber.

Vitamin & Mineral Content

They are also high in phytochemicals and phytonutrients, many of which function as antioxidants. Active phytochemicals include carotenoids, flavonoids, and caffeic acid, as well as unique tuber storage proteins, such as patatin. Although there is no good research looking specifically at potatoes, these chemicals are thought to help with digestion, heart health, blood pressure and possible cancer prevention.

Preparation

The key to eating potatoes is in how they are prepared. They get a bad reputation because they are often consumed as fried foods like french fries or potato chips, or baked but loaded with butter, cream, cheese and bacon.  Prep’d in this fashion, you are stripping away the nutritional benefits and adding more unhealthy fats, so this is not the way to eat them.

The potato skin is concentrated with dietary fiber, so I recommend that you clean the potato off but do not peel away the skin regardless of how you are going to consume it.

When cooking, do not cook, boil or broil in fat of any kind. Instead, use boiling water or pan seared. This will retain the nutritional quality of the potato without adding the unhealthy fats.

Eat these foods as a carbohydrate, not as a vegetable. They should not replace green food in your diet. Finally, like any other food, consumption in moderation is also important!

Potato Optionshttp://amzn.to/2qODzjP

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