I love potatoes and eat them without guilt. However, today’s post has been inspired by the plethora of nutrition gurus claiming…potatoes make you fat, potatoes are a “no-no” food and potatoes ain’t Paleo. As I said..the poor spud
There is so much nutrition information out there. I am sure the average Joe is starting to feel over-whelmed. I know I am and I work in nutrition.
I am hoping to highlight 5 fantastic nutritional properties of the humble spud and also dispel some myths. So here goes:
1. Potatoes contain vitamin C – Remember the stories about potatoes being given to sailors to prevent scurvy? Well there is truth in those stories. Potatoes do contain vitamin C. Vitamin C is an antioxidant (anti-oxidants help protect the body from free radicals). It is also involved in skin repair and wound healing plus in many reactions in the body including helping the absorption of iron from plant foods and a possible role in our immune system. To give you an idea, one medium potato (with skin on) contains about 28mg vitamin C. That’s about 60% of your daily requirements.
2. Potatoes fuel your body – One of the reasons people frown on potatoes is because they contain carbohydrate and these supposedly make you gain weight. It is true, if you eat enough of anything including carbohydrate you will gain weight. Similarly, a lot of things we add to potatoes and other carb foods are rich in calories (think butter, creamy sauces and gravies) and may add on kilo’s. Importantly though, if we are eating within our daily recommendations for carbs, potatoes should not make us gain weight. Instead they are a handy source of fuel. The carbohydrates and energy we gain from potatoes are needed to help us move, to think and to make our bodies quite simply – tick.
3. Potatoes can be low GI - Some potatoes are high GI (high glycemic index) meaning they can spike your blood sugar levels (if you have Diabetes that is not so great). That doesn’t mean to say you have to avoid them. Just watch the amounts eaten. There are also low GI versions as well like Nicola, Carisma and Sweet Potatoes. The low GI options are great for “keeping you going” and avoiding over-snacking.
4. Potatoes are good for your gut – Potatoes contain fibre which is essential for good gut health. A medium potato with the skin on can contain 3-4g. That’s about the same as good old weet-bix or 2 slices of wholemeal bread.
5. Potatoes help keep a healthy mind – Potatoes are a good source of vitamin 6 which is great for our mental health. Low intake of B6 has been associated with depression, memory problems and feeling angry/irritable. An average potato will give you 0.35mg (that’s about 1/4 of your daily B6 requirements).
So – why not have some spuds tonight for dinner – go on – enjoy your food
Reference: nutritional composition was collated from NUTTAB online.