What are the Benefits of Potatoes | Potato Nutrition | Types of Potatoes | Potato Calories
Be it baked mashed, fried, roasted potatoes seem to find a way into endless recipes and global cuisines effortlessly. The rich and earthy flavour of potato along with a delightfully sweet and comforting taste and an excellent nutrient profile, adds to the appeal of these versatile kitchen staples. However, in recent times, the humble potatoes have earned an unfair, and reputation of being worthless starch factories and are often cut out from diets.
Agreed, the greasy French fries sodium loaded wafers and buttery mashed potatoes or rich potato gravies are best avoided, but pay a little attention to the cooking technique and take away that extra fat from recipes and we can enjoy these nutrition powerhouses moderation without fear or guilt.
There exist more than 2000 varieties of potatoes worldwide. In order to unlock the culinary charm and reap the wonderful nutritional benefits of different types of it’s important that we understand the key characteristics and nutritive potential of each.
A medium sized potato with skin provides approximately 100 calories and contains zero saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium or gluten. They are low in calories, high in dietary fibre and rich in B vitamins (especially B 6 and niacin), vitamin C (a medium potato can provide up to 40 per cent of daily requirement for vitamin C) and potassium (moœ than En a banana or Ibroccoh).
Additionally, potatoes contain a wide array of phytochemicals, exhibiting antioxidant activity and a significant amount of health promoting minerals such as copper, manganese, iron and phosphorus.
Common Types And Varieties
Being rich in complex carbohydrates, makes potato a great food to fuel up energy stores. However, similar to all carbohydrate rich food sources, potatoes should also be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet, preferably not more than one a meal. We must understand that carbohydrates can be derived from sugar, starch and fibre and it is the ratio of each that sets different types of potatoes apart. The foods containing higher starch and lower fibre content pose a risk of elevating blood sugar levels too drastically and are thus restricted for a diabetic or in a low sugar diet.
The most common and popular potatoes are the large, oblong and dark brown skinned russet potatoes. A medium sized russet contains 34-36 grams of total carbohydrates — the breakdown being two-three grams of sugar, 24-30 grams of starch and approximately three to tour grams of fibre. The pale white, soft and fluffy textured flesh, chewy skin and high starch content of russet potatoes make them ideal for baking and mashing. They are also the tavourites of fast food giants to prepare French tries.
Sweeter in taste than white and russet potatoes, red potatoes have higher sugar and lesser starch content. The mildly flavoured red potatoes have a firm skin that holds up well, even after boiling. They are best suited for potato curries. stews and salads. Nutritionally, red potatoes are lower in fibre than russet or white potatoes but contain 25 per cent higher vitamin C than others. The colourful red and yellow varieties are also richer in cancer fighting phytonutrients than white potatoes. The amounts of vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc, potassium and magnesium are more or less similar to other variants.
White potatoes are the familiar medium sized, pale yellow skinned, white flesh potatoes that are available year round. Perhaps the most versatile of them all; they can be enjoyed roasted, baked, sautéed in olive oil or mashed as a sandwich stuffing. Try small sized and organically grown white potatoes with its skin for the best nutritional benefits.
The pigments in the brightly coloured purple potato provide carotenoids and flavonoids that help provide protection against heart diseases, cut cancer risk and promote good health.
Sweet potatoes do not belong to the solanaceae or potato family but are closely related and often considered to be a type of potato. Available in red, orange and purple tones, sweet potatoes enjoy a well-earned position amidst the most nutritious vegetables. Though higher in sugar content than white potatoes, sweet potatoes provide fewer calories and more fibre. Research links sweet potatoes with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and blood glucose regulating properties. Packed with dietary fibre, vitamin A, B and C and minerals like calcium, potassium. copper and manganese, sweet potatoes also contain an outstanding amount of carotenoids ana anthocyanin. With regards to glycemic index and effect on blood glucose levels, steaming or boiling sweet potato is a preferred cooking method than roasting or baking.