The nutritional value of potatoes, along with its taste and ease of cooking, has made it the most popular vegetable in the entire world. Think of a week when you didn’t eat even a single dish containing potatoes. Quite difficult, right?
It is said that on an average, an American consumes 62 kg of potatoes each year. That means that we consume almost one potato every day. It is no surprise that people consume so many potatoes because they are a good source of nutrition.
Natural potatoes are good sources of calories. In fact, many people in poor countries who cannot afford high-calorie diet foods such as milk products, meat, and pulses, use potatoes as their prime source of calories. In the seventh century potato became famous across Europe as a crop that could save people during famines. Aside from calories, did you know that potatoes are also good sources of nutrients?
Nutritional Value of Potatoes
Given below are some nutrient facts and information about the nutritional value of potatoes:
Mineral Content: If you eat potatoes regularly, you ensure a good supply of water and ions in your body. This is because potatoes are rich in potassium. The concentration is highest in the skin and just beneath it. So, eating the potato with its skin is always beneficial. Potatoes also contain calcium, iron, and phosphorus.
Vitamin Content: Natural potatoes are known for the large amounts of Vitamin C present in them. Typically, 100 gm of potato will contain about 17 mg of Vitamin C. In addition to this, natural potatoes also contains Vitamin A, B and P.
Water Content: Potatoes looks very big in size, but water accounts for about 70-80 percent of the weight of a potato. So the belief that you become fat by eating potatoes is a misconception. Of course if your potato servings contain large quantities of butter, or if you can’t keep away from those high-fat and high-cholesterol French fries, then you are bound to become overweight.
Starch Content: Potatoes contain about 17% starch and it is one of the best natural sources of starch. Potato sprouting leads to the conversion of starch into sugar, so you should avoid eating sprouted potatoes.
Note: most of the nutrients in a potato are just beneath its skin. If you eat the skin along with the potato, you get all these nutrients, or else what you primarily end up eating is just carbohydrates!
Tips to Reduce Loss of Potato Nutrients
Here are some tips that will help you in reducing the loss of potato nutrients:
Avoid peeling the potatoes before cooking them. The outer shell provides a good protection against nutritional loss during the cooking process. The protein and mineral content beneath the skin is very high, so if you cook the potatoes after peeling them, most of these proteins and minerals will be lost.
When you boil potatoes, first heat the water to its boiling point and then add the potatoes. This will reduce the cooking time and help you maintain the Vitamin C content.
Minimize frying of potatoes, as 75% of Vitamin C is lost during frying. You can use other cooking methods such as baking and steaming. On a different and delicious note, have you ever tried barbecue roasted potatoes?
Further Reading: Health Benefits of Potato