Monday, May 18, 2015

Day 2049 - New Potatoes

Could potatoes be a "super food"?

The humble potato is a dietary staple for so many people. They are something that fills you up and can go with any meal in many forms.  They're easy to come by as they're available year round as the number one vegetable crop in the world. But with all its comfy starchy carbo loaded fullness, could the potato actually be deemed a super food?

Let's get down and dirty with the potato.

A potato is the swollen part of the underground stem which is call a "tuber" and their job is to provide food for the leafy part of the plant above the ground.  Apparently if we allowed the potato plant to flower it would bear an inedible fruit that looks a bit like a tomato.

According to, potatoes are a good source of vitamin B6 as well as potassium, copper, vitamin C, phosophorus, niacin, dietary fibre and pantothenic acid.  Plus they contain some phytonutrients which have antioxidant properties.  Within the antioxidant activity you'll find carotenoids, flavonoids, caffeic acid and proteins like patatin which all exhibit activity towards fighting those very naughty free radicals.

The starch that's in a potato is some sort of clever "resistant" starch which is a type of carb that keeps you feeling fuller for longer.  

Redbook Magazine May 2015 suggests that "they also have more heart-healthy potassium than a banana".

Some of their super powers include:

  • Blood-pressure lowering potential (kukoamines).
  • Builds cells (Vitamin B6)
  • Contributes to brain cell and nervous system activity (Vitamin B6)
  • Cardiovascular Protection (Vitamin B6)
  • Contributes to athletic performance and endurance (Vitamin B6)
The key to whether or not a potato is a super food is in how you prepare them.

Chips and fries are laden with fat which unfortunately makes them less of a super food and more of a nemesis.

Even the humble baked spud can end up on the naughty list if dressed in oil, butter, sour cream or bacon.

If you're going to eat a potato then love it for who it is on its own.  Go for the clean and "new" variety and keep the skin on as most of the nutrients are right under the skin.  You're likely to lose them if you peel away the top layer.  

So is the potato a super food? 

I don't know.  I kind of like to avoid carbs as they don't bode well for me. Plus the potato is high in amines which is something that affects me adversely.  However, at least I know that if a potato does come my way I don't have to turn and run completely.

Perhaps I could have just one ...


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