Pity the poor potato.
It’s been maligned for years as simply one other empty starch or, worse, because the uncooked ingredient of questionable meals like chips and fries.
That’s a disgrace, since spuds are literally vitamin superstars.
“Potatoes are a tremendous meals,” stated Holly Dykstra, RD, a cardiovascular dietitian in preventive cardiology and rehab at Spectrum Health.
“They’re probably the greatest sources of potassium and have numerous fiber and vitamin C, in addition to protein,” she stated.
Better of all are the issues potatoes don’t have—reminiscent of fats and sodium.
Dykstra likes to think about the versatile potato as a clean canvas for a lot of nice meals. Nonetheless, she stated folks typically mistakenly blame potatoes for well being considerations or weight achieve, when the actual downside is probably going the high-fat add-ons. (Sure, butter, cheese and bitter cream—we’re taking a look at you.)
It’s all led to potatoes falling from favor, at the least from a whole-food perspective.
Whereas they proceed to be probably the most generally grown and eaten vegetable within the nation, consumption of recent potatoes within the U.S. has fallen by 50% within the final 50 years, in line with the U.S. Division of Agriculture.
But the urge for food for processed potatoes—in meals reminiscent of french fries, chips and hash browns—has risen by two-thirds in the identical interval.
Potatoes by the numbers
Calculating simply how nutritious potatoes are could be a little difficult since they vary significantly in dimension, from these lovable little fingerlings to the huge spuds served in steakhouses.
One medium-sized potato, sometimes 2 to three inches in diameter, packs about 110 energy. It comprises roughly 30% of the day’s advisable allowance for vitamin C.
It additionally contributes about 25% of the day by day allowance for potassium, a nutrient identified to decrease the chance of hypertension and stroke. That’s twice as a lot as a banana.
And it’s a great supply of vitamin B6.
Potatoes even provide 4 grams of protein, in comparison with 6 grams for an egg.
When eaten with the pores and skin, spuds add 2 grams of fiber to any meal. That’s essential as a result of so many people skimp on fiber, elevating the chance of some cancers, Dykstra stated.
“Plus, meals excessive in fiber make us really feel full longer, so we’re much less more likely to overeat,” she stated.
All these virtues, nevertheless, pale compared to the principle motive potatoes rock.
“They’re so versatile that just about everybody likes them,” she stated.
Tips on how to choose ‘em
Whereas mainstream Individuals could also be spurning the spud as a dinner vegetable, meals adventurers know there’s been a renaissance underway for a while.
Greater than 200 forms of potato can be found within the U.S., starting from tiny purple ones to the Russets many individuals want for baking.
Dykstra additionally loves candy potatoes, which give a walloping 100% of the advisable day by day allowance of vitamin A.
“Whereas they provide a barely totally different profile of vitamins, they’re simply as versatile—and scrumptious,” Dykstra stated.
She suggests experimenting, each with potato varieties and recipes.
“I like them baked, and prime them with all kinds of greens and spices,” Dykstra stated. “And I am keen on them roasted, particularly with different root greens, like onions, parsnips, beets or candy potatoes.”
For seasoning, she likes so as to add rosemary, cumin or chili powder.
“With high-flavor recipes, it’s simpler to cook dinner with simply small quantities of fat.”
When purchasing for spuds, search for these which are clear and freed from blemishes or cuts.
And provides some considered the place to maintain them. “When saved correctly, they final for a very long time—and that’s a win, in comparison with so many greens which should be eaten shortly,” Dykstra stated.
Maintain potatoes in a cool place, with a temperature between 45 and 55 levels—ideally in a perforated plastic or paper bag. Refrigerating them isn’t a good suggestion as a result of it could trigger the starch to transform to sugar and trigger discoloration when cooked.
They usually should be out of direct daylight. In any other case, they will develop a greenish sheen attributable to solanine, which is bitter and—in giant sufficient portions—even poisonous.
If that occurs, merely pare away the inexperienced elements and search for a darker spot for storage.
Ditto for the sprouts that generally emerge. That’s simply the potato eager to develop, and it gained’t have an effect on vitamin.
Lastly, regardless that potatoes and onions each require comparable storage circumstances, preserve them away from one another. Onions emit a gasoline that causes potatoes to ripen, sprout and finally spoil.
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