Potatoes are versatile and affordable vegetables that can be used in various recipes. While they may have gotten a bad reputation for being a carb-heavy and unhealthy food, recent studies have shown that potatoes can offer a range of health benefits when prepared correctly. This article will explore five ways potato recipes can boost your health.
Provide Essential Nutrients
Potatoes are a great source of many essential nutrients. They contain vitamin C, which helps support a healthy immune system, and vitamin B6, which is important for brain function and the formation of red blood cells. Potatoes also contain potassium, which can help regulate blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke. Additionally, they are a good source of dietary fibre, which can help keep you full and satisfied and aid digestion.
One of the best ways to preserve these nutrients is to roast or bake potatoes rather than fry them. When fried, potatoes absorb a lot of oil, which can add unnecessary calories and fat to your diet. Roasting or baking potatoes with olive oil or butter can enhance their natural flavour and texture while preserving their nutritional value.
Help Control Blood Sugar Levels
Contrary to popular belief, potatoes are not necessarily bad for people with diabetes or trying to manage their blood sugar levels. Potatoes can be a great addition to a diabetes-friendly diet when prepared correctly.
One way to ensure that potatoes don’t cause a spike in blood sugar is to eat them with protein or healthy fat, such as roasted chicken or avocado. This can help slow down the absorption of carbohydrates from the potatoes, preventing a sudden rise in blood sugar levels.
Another way to manage blood sugar is to choose potatoes with a lower glycemic index (GI). The GI measures how quickly carbohydrate-containing food raises blood sugar levels. Sweet potatoes, for example, have a lower GI than regular potatoes, which means they cause a slower and more sustained rise in blood sugar.
Support Gut Health
Potatoes are good source of resistant starch, a dietary fibre with numerous health benefits. Resistant starch is not digested in the small intestine like other types of starch but instead passes through to the large intestine, where it feeds beneficial gut bacteria.
When gut bacteria digest resistant starch, they produce short-chain fatty acids, which can help reduce inflammation and support overall gut health. Resistant starch has also been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce the risk of colon cancer.
To get the most resistant starch from potatoes, eating them when they are cooked and then cooled is best. When potatoes are cooked and then cooled, their starches become more resistant to digestion, which means more of it will make it to the large intestine.
Boost Athletic Performance
Potatoes can be a great food for athletes and active individuals, as they are a good source of complex carbohydrates that provide exercise energy. Additionally, potatoes contain potassium, which can help prevent muscle cramps and aid in muscle recovery.
One study found that consuming potatoes before exercise improved time-to-exhaustion and athletic performance in trained athletes. Another study found that consuming potatoes after exercise improved muscle recovery and reduced muscle damage.
To get the most benefit from potatoes for athletic performance, eating them before or after exercise rather than as a part of a high-fat or high-protein meal is best.
In conclusion, potatoes can offer a range of health benefits when prepared correctly. They are a good source of many essential nutrients, can help control blood sugar levels, support gut health, boost athletic performance, and aid in weight loss.
Choosing healthy preparation methods and pairing them with other nutrient-dense foods is important to get the most benefit from potatoes. Roasting, baking, or boiling potatoes are good options, while frying should be avoided. Additionally, it’s important to avoid high-calorie toppings and instead opts for healthy options like herbs, spices, or a drizzle of olive oil.