The potato is a starchy root vegetable, eaten as a staple food all around the world! Potatoes originate from the nightshade family and are grown in countless varieties, most of which have brown-coloured peels. However, there are also yellow, red, and purple varieties available as well. They serve as a satisfying starch that is traditionally added into many dishes such as chicken pot pies, Irish stews and potato latkes, or are sometimes simply mashed or roasted for a savoury side dish. There are lots of ways to get creative with potatoes! Potatoes are available in flour form that can be used as a thickening agent to replace regular flour in gluten-free recipes.
Benefits of Potatoes:
- One of the benefits of potatoes is its high potassium content! Potassium has many important functions to keep your body systems in balance, such as controlling your blood pressure and fluid levels. Potassium also keep your nerves and muscles working properly.
- Potatoes are also a source of dietary fibre. Fibre is a unique compound that our bodies don’t break down, so it helps with our digestion, bowel health, as well as making us feel full and prevents overeating. The fibre in potatoes is found in the skin, so keep the skin on to get all its benefits! One way to do this is to try a “smashed” potato instead of your typical mashed potato, keeping the skin on for added colour and fibre.
- Potatoes are a good source of folate, a nutrient that is involved in the creation of red blood cells and is also important for heart health. Folate is also very important in pregnancy to prevent birth defects in the baby, which is why women who may become pregnant have higher folate needs.
- Contain a good source of vitamin C, also called ‘ascorbic acid’. This vitamin is very important for your immune system—it keeps you healthy and helps repair body tissues.
Nutritional Value of ½ cup (65g) Potatoes, Cooked in Skin:
- 68 calories
- 15.8 g carbohydrate
- 1.6 g fibre
- 1.6 g protein
- 0.1 g fat
- 6% of your daily potassium requirements
- 16% of Vitamin C recommendations
Did You Know…
Potatoes get a bad reputation because they are often prepared and served in ways that are high in fat and sodium, like deep-fried, salted French fries or potato chips. In fact, deep-frying potatoes produces harmful acrylamide contaminants, especially at higher frying temperatures. But, not to worry: there are lots of ways to prepare potatoes in healthy ways. Cook them by boiling, baking, or slow roasting them, and then add flavour with herbs and spices like chili powder, paprika, thyme, salsa, or other spices. Delicious!