Potatoes: Why Are They So Awesome?
Reason 1: Vitamins & Minerals
Potatoes might seem a dull and lifeless root, that doesn’t contain much of anything but my friend you would be mistaken. Potatoes are packed full of many beneficial vitamins and minerals that are necessary for human life.
Potatoes are full of many B vitamins, vitamin C, Iron, Magnesium, Zinc, Copper, Sulphur, Potassium, and Sulphur. Making it a powerhouse for human health, and has even been shown to outrank onions, carrots in terms of antioxidant activity. Potatoes have even been shown in studies to be able to reduce inflammation, and help with cardiovascular health, most likely because of the high amounts antioxidants they contain.
There is one catch however when it comes to obtaining the great nutrients that these tubers contain, and that is that most of the beneficial vitamins and minerals are found in the skin. Yes I know we have all had that baked potato that we tried to eat with the skin and got nothing but a mouthful of what tasted like pure delicious dirt. The best thing that you can do for that is number one clean your potato before you cook it, next you should try different kinds of potatoes (I have found that russet potatoes are the ones that taste like dirt most often), and finally try cooking them differently occasionally you will see that the skin can be the best part!
Reason 2: Starch
Starch isn’t just something that you use to get the wrinkles out of your jeans when you iron them. Starch is a carbohydrate that is found in many plants, and is broken down into the main fuel source that our bodies use called glucose. Potatoes are high in a specific kind of starch called resistant starch. The reason it is called resistant starch is because it isn’t broken down in the gut, but makes its way to the microbiota and is a good form of prebiotic to feed the bacteria of your microbiome. Resistant starch has been shown to help with helping improve insulin sensitivity, digestion issues, risk of colon cancer, help with absorption of minerals, and increases butyrate in the microbiome. Potatoes regularly have a good amount of resistant starch in them, but an easy way to allow them to gain even more is by cooking them and letting them cool down. No you don’t have to eat cold potatoes, because even when you heat them back up the resistant starch remains and you can still get the beneficial effects.
Reason 3: Satiety
Potatoes above other carbohydrates are extremely satisfying when it comes to overall satiety. What I mean by this is that you stay full for longer and have less hunger after consuming potatoes rather than other carbohydrate sources. I have found this to be true on a personal level. I have tried to use the classic chicken and rice bodybuilding diet, and found myself starving after about an hour after eating even though my calories were in point. Once I got away from that and started to eat potatoes with my main meal however this all changed. Once I get finished with my main meal of the day that contains a hefty portion of potatoes I don’t even think about food for hours on end because I am completely satisfied, but don’t just take my word for it, let’s look at what the research says. In one study that looked at the satiety index of 38 different foods boiled potatoes actually scored the highest. It’s also been shown that consuming potatoes with a meal resulted in less overall energy (caloric) intake than a meal with either rice or pasta. So if you are trying to stay satisfied on a low calorie diet, or are trying to maintain your weight but still find yourself being hungry I highly recommend putting some good organic potatoes into your diet.
What They Do Not Have Makes Them Awesome Too!
In a lot of foods, such as nuts and many leafy greens, there are things called antinutrients. Antinutrients are things in certain foods that have an adverse effect on the absorption of key micronutrients in the body, or bioenergetic system of the body. Some examples of antinutrients are things like phytic acid which has been shown to absorb minerals from the body leading to micronutrient deficiencies, phytoestrogens which have been shown to lead to excess estrogen in the human body, and goitrogens which have very detrimental effects on the health of the thyroid gland. Potatoes on the other hand contain little to no phytic acid whatsoever, making all of the nutrients in them completely available for the body to be able to use, with no adverse effects on the hormonal balance, or micronutrient content of the body. They do not naturally contain any phytoestrogens, although if they have been left in the heat in plastic or are ladened in pesticides this could easily change. They also do not contain any goitrogens, allowing them to contribute to optimal thyroid health and skyrocketing your metabolism, as long as you don’t fry them up in PUFAs, which ruins almost all benefits they have to offer.