Potatoes are bad for you?
Recently many people have put potatoes on the “do not eat list”. Low carb, high protein diets like Atkins have dieters cutting out carbs and eating more meat for quick weight loss. The Atkins fad has died down considerably, but it left a blemish on our starchy friend’s good name.
While potatoes are a starchy carb it does not mean they are “bad”. When baked, potatoes are actually high in vitamin C (27% DV), potasium (26%DV), and fiber (15% DV). These and other compounds help against free radicals, heart disease, and cancer.
The real health problem regarding the potato isn’t lurking in the vegetable. It’s what we decide to add to the vegetable. A few buzzwords associated with potatoes are butter, sour cream, deep fried, and ketchup. These high fat/sugar “garnishes” are what give us that little jiggle when we walk, not the potato itself.
So here are a few tips to keep in mind when preparing your pots.
- Leave the skin on. While the skin doesn’t actually contain any significant nutrients, the layer just under the skin has the highest concentration of vitamins. Peeling off the skin also peels off that rich layer right underneath.
- Bake/Microwave>Boiled. Baking or microwaving your potato is the best way to maintain the nutrients.
- Less fries (sorry). Frying any food in oil immediately does more harm than good. Vegetables are especially porous and will soak up whatever you put them in. When you cook with oil, it not only fries the vegetable’s outer layer, it also soaks up the oil underneath, adding a considerable amount of fat.
Try to consider french fries and potato chips as a occasional indulgence, not a regular side for lunch. Opt for the side salad instead and try to only treat yourself to fries once in a while.
- Eat small, colorful potatoes. The smaller the potatoes, the more skin you’ll be eating. Colorful potatoes tend to have more nutrients than white potatoes. Try buying variety bags like the one pictured above.
- Don’t eat green or sprouting potatoes. This is a sign that your potato may be carrying a toxin called solanine. Solanine develops when potatoes are exposed to sunlight. Not only can these potatoes taste bad, but they sometimes cause health problems like diarrhea and poisoning. Also avoid potatoes marked “prewashed” because this leaves potatoes more vulnerable to going bad. To avoid spoilage, store potatoes in a cool dark place. Do not put potatoes in the fridge, and keep them out of sunlight.
So go grab that variety bag of colorful potatoes and make yourself some Irish stew. They’re delicious, and best of all, they’re cheap. Happy St. Patty’s day!