Are Potatoes Good For You?{and are they a superfood?}

Are Potatoes Good For You?{and are they a superfood?}

Potato lovers everywhere have known how they would answer the question, “are potatoes good for you, and are they a superfood?” Well, officially they are not called a superfood, like blueberries for instance, but if the definition of a superfood is that which is rich in compounds good for a person’s health, then potatoes certainly qualify.

Some people automatically think that potatoes are just empty calories with no nutritional value and at the same time are fattening. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I mean maybe the butter and milk you add to mashed potatoes are fattening, or maybe the sour cream and bacon bits you top your baked potato with is fattening, but the potato itself isn’t.

THE NUTRITIONAL VALUE OF POTATOES

Potatoes may well be the most complete complex carbohydrates we can eat, but it’s much more than that.

Here are six main reasons why potatoes are exceptionally good for us.

  1. Potatoes contain copper, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, iron, potassium, and magnesium. Better still, these minerals are more readily absorbed because of their low phytic acid content.
  2. Your average medium potato has 40mg of vitamin C. Even though a lot of the vitamin C content is lost in the cooking process, the remaining amount will add about a fifth of your daily recommended allotment.
  3. Potatoes are very filling as they have a high satiety index. This is why roasted or baked potatoes rank high as a nutritious part of a balanced weight loss diet.
  4. Vitamin B can be found in potatoes. As a matter of fact, vitamin B6, (Niacin) B3, folate B9, and choline B4, are all found in potatoes.
  5. Many people are unaware of the protein content of potatoes, yet the average potato has 4g of protein and makes up 10% of your daily requirement. Better yet, potato protein contains all 9 amino acids.
  6. Resistant starch in potatoes fuels friendly gut bacteria. When potatoes are cooked and cooled they contain amylose, which is resistant to digestion and as a result is able to feed the good bacteria in the colon. As a result, it helps prevent inflammation, improves fat loss, and keeps toxins out of the bloodstream.
Are Potatoes Good For You?{and are they a superfood?}
Potatoes have a host of essential minerals.

IRISH IMMIGRANTS KNOW THE VALUE OF POTATOES

Canada was flooded with Irish immigrants and by 1850 Irish immigrants made up 25% of Prince Edward Islands population. Although many of them arrived in the years before the Irish potato famine, even more, arrived in later years.

According to Wikipedia, in 1845 an infestation caused by wet and cool weather destroyed potato crops throughout Ireland. This triggered the great potato famine. Of eight million Irishman in 1845, one million died and 1.5 million emigrated to North America. In 15 years there was a 30% drop in Ireland’s population.

Are Potatoes Good For You?{and are they a superfood?}
Potatoes are relatively easy to grow.

The Irish were known to eat an average of 13 pounds of potatoes per day. If the average is five potatoes per day, that computes to 65 potatoes per day.

The average for all men, women, and children was about nine pounds or 45 potatoes a day. The Irish loved potatoes so much that it was all they grew, so their growing habits didn’t really lend itself to a diversified diet.

However the Irish did enjoy eating fish, lamb, bacon, and cabbage as well, but it wasn’t always available. At least not as available as potatoes which were so easy to grow.

HOW DID THE IRISH COOK THEIR POTATOES?

The preferred method for cooking their potatoes was by boiling. They would eat the potato skin and all in order to get the optimum nutritional value.

Sometimes they would add bacon, butter, salt cod to their meal of potatoes.

They found that the starch in the potatoes supplied lots of energy and quite often they would have buttermilk along with their meal of potatoes.

Before they reverted to a mostly potato-based diet, the Irish ate a lot of grain. They would eat it as bread or porridge and at times they used oats to make griddled oatcakes. If they happened to live close to the sea, they would add fish to their diet.

Are Potatoes Good For You?{and are they a superfood?}
Potatoes come in many different varieties

For those who lived inland and far from the sea, fish was considered a luxury item that they ate only rarely. Meat was also a rare part of their diet, but when available would be used to make their famous Irish stew.

Of course, as they were predominately Catholics, they did not eat meat on Fridays.

THE POTATO AND IT’S VALUE TO ATHLETES

As a long time endurance athlete, my diet in my competition years consisted of mainly complex carbohydrates. Yes, I know, it goes against all the conventional wisdom out there that carbohydrates are bad for you.

I have never bought into that way of thinking and potatoes, rice, bread, pasta, and oatmeal are what fueled my career as an Ironman Triathlete and marathon runner.

I was burning immense amounts of calories during my training sessions and required a lot of complex carbohydrates in order to restore the glycogen I burned as fuel.

Even though I lived alone, I was buying 20 pounds of potatoes at a time and burning through a bag in about five or six days. I wasn’t eating as much as your average 1980’s Irishman, but it potatoes was the mainstay of my training and recovery diet.

 

Are Potatoes Good For You?{and are they a superfood?}
In Belgium, they eat their fries with mayonnaise.

When I was in training I would steam about four or five potatoes in water. First I would cut them up and I would add chopped onions and spice the potatoes up with salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese.

Because potatoes are such a pure carbohydrate, I had to temper the amount of glycogen entering my bloodstream quickly by adding a protein source. When the potatoes were almost cooked I would add a couple of eggs and mix them in with the potatoes.

The glycogen created from the potatoes is so pure that it can cause your blood sugar levels to spike, but adding protein to the mix slowed down the creation of glucose.

This was my favorite recovery meal after a long morning run of two hours of more.

COOKING POTATOES NORTH AMERICAN STYLE

There are very few foods as versatile as the humble potato.

They can be boiled, baked, roasted, or fried.

They are a favorite as hashbrowns for breakfast and go especially well with bacon, eggs, and toast. There are several ways to utilize potatoes as hashbrowns.

Some people shred their raw potatoes or cut them into cubes and fry them that way. Some people will boil their potatoes the day before and cut them up as hashbrowns for breakfast the next morning.

Some all-time favorites include scalloped potatoes, which means they are baked with milk. Of course, there are mashed potatoes. Just add some butter and milk and mash them well and you have a much-loved North American dish.

Are Potatoes Good For You?{and are they a superfood?}
Roast potatoes are also excellent and go with many meat dishes.

Let’s not forget the humble french fry. The average American eats about 30 pounds of french fries per year. Then, of course, there are all the flavored chips you can buy in the supermarket.

What would your guess be if someone asked you which country eats the most french fries per year? You might think it’s the USA and you would also be wrong. You might think of the UK, but you are wrong again.

The county that has the most champion, french fry eaters, is Belgium. It should be noted that Belgium’s don’t eat their french fries without the sour malt vinegar choice of the UK or ketchup of North America. They chose to eat their french fries with mayonnaise.

I’ve heard that it’s pretty amazing and will have to break the ketchup habit and give it a try.

IN CONCLUSION

I can’t imagine how so many people are buying into the rhetoric that carbohydrates (including potatoes) are not good for you and cause weight gain.

What causes weight gain is not a mystery. You will gain weight when you consume for calories than you burn. It’s not a complex formula if you want to lose weight.

Don’t eat so much, or become more physically active.

If you want a diet that is sure to help you lose weight you should consider Alternate Day Fasting.

I know first-hand that it works amazingly well to lose weight and inches around your waist. It has to work because on fasting days you are eating very few calories (no more than 500) or no calories at all. On eating days you can eat what you want and don’t have to count calories.

Basically you are cutting down your overall calorie consumption by half so losing weight and inches is a no-brainer if you stick to it.

You should always get medical advice if you make a radical change to your diet, and also be aware that a diet based mainly on potatoes is not always best if you are overweight or have high blood glucose levels.

Would you like to share your thoughts on this topic? Feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this page.

12 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Excellent post.  I love potatoes and no I haven’t fallen into the carbohydrates are bad for you.  I did however learn a lot more about potatoes then I did before reading your article. 

    I didn’t realize the history of the Irish and potatoes or that there was ever a potato famine.  History never ceases to amaze me, what people are capable of surviving through. 

    This is super relevant to the situation we currently find oursevles in. Rising above and surviving is our human spirit, so I am going to go right now and boil some potatoes with parm cheese and that will make me feel much better.  Long live the potato. 

    Very cool information, so thanks. Job well done.

    1. Thanks so much, Coralie! Never underestimate the power of the potato. Loaded with nutrients and so versatile.

  2. Potatoes. What a grand food. I eat them on average 4 times a week. They are tasty and very versatile in the way they can be prepared. The thing about potatoes is they have been given a bad rap. They hold so many vitamins and minerals, as you explained, that to not have them is to deprive yourself of things your body needs on a daily basis to be healthy. 

    I never bought into the no carb diets. I have found that if you lower your intake, which most people don’t, that your body will naturally start returning to a healthy weight. Proper exercise with a proper diet will do wonders for you and help keep you healthy.

    Jerry

    1. Thanks, Jerry and you are exactly right. When I was training I ate a lot of potatoes and never gained any weight.

  3. Hey Helo, nice article you have got on the article”are potatoes good for you and are they a Superfood”. Wooolala (lol). There is a very nice brief history of the Irish and their potatoes consumption. Anyways I so much love food, the potatoes are great choice of meal for me. Like I said I love them, but the truth is I never knew potatoes has such advantages thanks for the insight given.

    i think I will try out the North American style.

    1. Thank you for commenting, Sheddy. Every time I write an article and research I find out more about the topic.

  4. Splendid article..am not a lover of potatoes but from your article I could agree with people who say that potatoes are good for everyone…there seems to be a lot reasons why people are yet to be lover’s of potatoes to fall in love with it…well I did enjoy your review and I wish to try it out..

  5. Wow! All my life I only potatoes to be just ” carbohydrates”!. 

    I never knew that potatoes are this rich in other nutrients! Even vitamin C, it is just amazing. Knowing this information about potatoes, my preferred way of cooking it will boiling so as to maintain the nutritional values it contain.

    Thanks so much!

  6. Hello, Your guide is awesome for me on Potatoes. My family is using potatoes very much. After reading your article I know that they have lots of essential minerals. Now soon we will try NORTH AMERICAN STYLE potatoes cooking. I think everyone will try different cooking method to cook potatoes vegetable. Thanks for sharing your lovely guide on Potatoes. Surely everyone will like it.

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