Why potatoes need to be given more respect as an ingredient
Over the past decade, potatoes have been painted as one of the worst things you could eat - they’re too high in carbs and bad for your diet. But the truth is, a potato is a nutrition powerhouse.
Plus, it’s available through the year as well as being versatile. It is time we recognise this and give the humble spud more respect.
Dietitian Mbali Mapholi says potatoes have long been an important, cost-effective source of energy, nutrition, and satiety in the South African diet.
Mapholi says, as the most important vegetable crop in South Africa and one of the world’s most recognised staple foods, potatoes play an important role in our diets, health, and well-being. She says the humble spud has attracted a lot of bad reputation pushed by the diet culture.
“The missing link in that messaging is that using healthy cooking methods such as baking, boiling, steaming, grilling of potatoes with their skin makes this spud one of the best wholefoods one can add to their plate.”
Mapholi shares some of the health benefits of potatoes.
- Potatoes have the highest level of potassium compared to other vegetables and starchy foods; they are packed with vitamins (Vitamin C and B-Vitamins) and minerals. For example, chromium is important for good health.
- Potatoes are naturally gluten-free which is important for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
- They contain resistant starch (a type of carbohydrate) which is a source of nutrition for good gut bacteria. They convert it to the short-chain fatty acid butyrate, which is linked to good gut health.
- When potatoes are cooked correctly, they can play an integral part in optimal heart health (dietary fibre and other nutrients).
- They are rich in plant compounds (antioxidants) which are crucial for overall health and are the ones that give potatoes their colour (for example, brown skin potatoes with white flesh, red skin to purple potatoes).
If you are ready to have fun with potatoes again, then you will enjoy the second edition of IOL FOOD magazine.From tips on picking the right potato for your meal, diet matters, and storage, to pages upon pages of various potato recipes.
You are sure to find a couple that will make you once again appreciate the potato. It is time we recognise and give the humble spud more respect.
Read the magazine here.