And rightfully so…..
Potatoes are a superfood. Health benefits abound.
All kinds of potatoes are equally nutritious, varying slightly in vitamin and mineral values. There are so many different potato types on the market today. There are russets great for baking, new potatoes great for boiling or oven roasting, yellow flesh potatoes, red skinned potatoes, purple potatoes, fingerling potatoes in both red and white and purple etc.
- Potatoes play a strong role in a healthy diet. They contain an excellent amount of vitamin C beating out tomatoes and sweet potatoes in this department. Vitamin C is an antioxidant which fights off free radicals. It also aids in collagen production, iron absorption, wound healing and healthy gums…to name a few. Vitamin C also helps to support your immune system. Maybe that’s why I love potatoes so much…they boost my immune system.
- Potatoes contain more potassium than a banana. Potatoes are, in fact, considered one of the best foods for potassium. Potassium is important as it helps regulate mineral balance in the cells and maintains healthy blood pressure.
- Potatoes are a good source of vitamin B6 playing an important role in protein metabolism so that is why “meat and potatoes” came to be such good companions on the dinner plate.
- Potatoes contain a bit of iron and are fat, sodium and cholesterol free.
- A serving of plain potatoes has approximately 110 calories. Potatoes don’t become fattening until they are mashed with cream and butter, fried etc. It’s the preparation and the additions we throw on them that causes their calorie count to go up.
- Including the skin of the potato is a good idea as it contains a good amount of the fiber found in potatoes. I can’t remember the last time I peeled a potato. I keep the skin on my potatoes in every recipe.
- Potatoes are naturally gluten free
I put potatoes at the top of my list of comfort foods. They are so versatile and can be made in so many ways from an easy baked potato to a complicated scallop or fritter potato dish. They are used as a topping to many yummy casserole recipes such as the infamous “shepherds pie”. If I have leftover mashed potatoes I sometimes use them to help thicken up soups. For instance, when you have a left over Sunday roast and you want to make soup out of the meat you have left or the chicken or turkey carcass….tossing your leftover mashed potatoes in the pot when your soup is almost ready adds nutrition and thickens the broth.
Potatoes are very nutritious if prepared in a healthy way. I add here that French fries and potato chips are not considered nutritious in the world of “potatoes”. In fact fried potatoes become toxic when cooked in high heat oil. A carcinogen is formed from frying potatoes in hot oil called “acrylamide” which is what makes the French fry so unhealthy. The French fry has become the standard side dish to many restaurant sandwiches, wraps and burgers. If you eat out in a restaurant every day due to your work, please be wary of the French fries on your plate. Opt in for a healthy side salad instead of the fries. “I know it’s hard…we all love a few French fries”. Make your French fry an occasional indulgence. Your heart and your waistline will thank you.
The versatility of the potato is endless. Here is a recipe for a mashed potato with additions.
I call it “Mashed Potatoes and Friends”
1 1/2 pounds of Yukon gold potatoes, I leave the skin on
1 small sweet potato, I leave the skin on
2 medium parsnips, rinsed, ends trimmed off
2 minced garlic cloves
2 tablespoons of your favorite oil…I use EVOO or avocado oil
1/2 cup of milk of your choice…almond, soy, or cow’s milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Place cubed potatoes, garlic and parsnips in a pot of salted water enough to just cover the veggies. Bring to a boil. Cook about 20 to 30 minutes until tender. Drain over the sink, add in your oil of choice and gradually add in the milk as needed. Mash well and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Yummy…great version of the mashed potato…but with added benefits.