30 March 2023
There is hardly anyone who can resist potatoes. You may not like them as a vegetable or a curry, but are sure to be fond of them as fries or wedges – isn’t it? Despite this, there are many people who refrain from having potatoes thinking they will make them gain extra kilos. But, what if we tell you that this humble vegetable also comes with numerous health benefits and in fact, even scores over some of its counterparts? Yes, you read that right — and it is also something Mac Singh, a dietitian, pointed out in an Instagram post.
“Potatoes have a bad reputation when it comes to nutrition. Often, gym trainers and nutritionists prescribe not to have potatoes to people who want to lose weight,” he captioned the post further adding that “100 gm of potatoes contains just 0.1 gm of fat. To put things into perspective, even broccoli and corn have more fat per 100 gm as compared to potatoes”.
Speaking with indianexpress.com, Dr G Sushma – Consultant – Clinical Dietician, CARE Hospitals, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad concurred with Singh and said, “Potatoes are a popular staple food in India and provide several health benefits. They are rich in vitamins C and B6, potassium, and dietary fiber. Additionally, they also contain antioxidants such as polyphenols and carotenoids”.
Highlighting that most people are deficient in potassium these days, especially those who are vegetarian or have been on a diet for long, Singh wrote that the starch in potatoes is good as it is resistant starch. “Agreed that potatoes are full of starch but do you know what kind of starch it has? Well, potatoes are full of resistant starch which acts like fibre and helps to grow good bacterias in your gut,” he added.
Dr Sushma also listed out various health benefits of potatoes, that range from lowering blood pressure to improving heart health.
Below are health benefits of potatoes shared by Dr Sushma:
• Improved digestion: Potatoes contain significant amounts of dietary fiber, which promotes digestion and prevents constipation.
• Lower blood pressure: The presence of potassium in potatoes helps regulate blood pressure and reduce the risk of hypertension.
• Boost heart health: The antioxidants present in potatoes help reduce the risk of heart disease.
• Resistant starch: Potatoes contain resistant starch, which is not digested in the small intestine and can improve insulin sensitivity, promote satiety, and reduce appetite.
While its health benefits cannot be ignored, diabetics must eat potatoes with caution as they can “spike your blood sugar” levels. He also advised them to be consumed in combination “with protein and fat to balance out the carbs”.
“Yes, the way potatoes are prepared can make them unhealthy. Deep frying, adding excessive butter, cream, salt or using pre-packaged masalas can negate the nutritional value of potatoes. To reap the health benefits of potatoes, it is important to prepare them in a healthy way. Baking, boiling, or roasting are healthy cooking methods that can help retain their nutritional value. It is also important to choose organic potatoes whenever possible, as conventionally grown potatoes may contain high levels of pesticides. Lastly, potatoes should not be the only source of carbohydrates in one’s diet, as they may lack other essential nutrients such as vitamins and minerals,” concluded Dr Sushma.
Reference Link: https://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/potatoes-health-benefits-have-more-potassium-than-bananas-less-fat-than-broccoli-8514538/