Enjoy Potatoes: Just Keep In MindDave Smith
Some nutrition tips are for me like nails on a blackboard. It is the abbreviation of “not eating bread, pasta and potatoes” and somehow implies that not only those foods are not healthy but they are also prohibited if you are trying to lose weight.
But the long defamed spud is returning. WW (formerly Weight Watchers) now counts potatoes as a Zero Point food in one of their plans, which means that members don’t have to measure or track them. Even Whole30, a strict elimination diet, recently announced that potatoes were officially off the long list of no-no.
Personally, I’m glad to see that potatoes get a pardon because they deserve some credit. A medium white potato has a third of the vitamin C it needs every day, more potassium than a banana, a couple of grams of fiber (and not just in the skin) and even some protein and iron, all for just 110 calories. Even the authors of the Whole30 diet recognize that potatoes are an “integral, real and nutrient-rich food” and conclude that it made no sense to leave them out of the plan.
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White potatoes are not nutritional loafers, but some other varieties have unique advantages. Red and purple potatoes, for example, owe their nuances to natural plant compounds called anthocyanins. Those function as antioxidants in the body, protecting cells from the type of damage that leads to disease. Some research shows that anthocyanins can reduce the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease and cognitive impairment.
Potatoes in general have another special power: when they are cooked and cooled (as in the potato salad), they become rich in resistant starch, a type of carbohydrate that can help you feel fuller and increase the amount of beneficial bacteria in the intestine.
Why have potatoes had such a bad reputation? One reason is that, while they are the most commonly eaten vegetables, they are often consumed in the form of French fries, and along with foods decidedly less nutrient dense. Once the potatoes are fried, they are bathed in salt and served with a fast food hamburger and soft drinks, their nutrient density (and the value they add to their plate) decreases considerably.
So, of course, enjoy potatoes, just keep in mind how they are prepared.That doesn’t mean you should avoid french fries and french fries forever. But eat roasted, baked, roasted and boiled potatoes much more frequently. Try different varieties to get different health benefits. And also include many other vegetables in your diet, including low-starchy vegetables such as broccoli and green leafy vegetables. Simply remove the potatoes from your “do not eat” list. (Or better yet, delete the “do not eat” list altogether!)
TOPICS: Ingredients, potatoes, vegetables, healthy eating, whole30, weight watchers, diet, weight loss