It is inconspicuous and is often underestimated. The potato is neither new nor particularly hip, and it is not uncommon for it to be labelled as a fattening agent due to its starch content. No wonder that the poor tuber has a hard time of it.
High time to clarify the most important facts about the inconspicuous potatoes. No more nasty rumours and false myths – because one thing is clear: the potato should definitely land on your plate more often!
What are the nutritional values of potatoes?
It is a food with superfood potential, and as such was on our vegetable shelves long before Chia Samen and Co. What many people don’t know: Originally the healthy tuber comes from South America, from the Andes to be exact. It was not until the 17th century that it made its way to us in Europe.
What are healthy and unhealthy carbohydrates?
Even if you don’t see it on the tuber at first glance, it really has it all – in the truest sense of the word. Its nutritional value is quite impressive. It contains almost no fat, but a lot of vitamins, minerals and a lot of fibre. If you boil the potato or fry it with a small amount of oil, you can eat almost as much as you like.
Why are potatoes healthy?
Besides the nutrient density there are other advantages. Here are the 7 most important reasons why you should serve potatoes more often
1. potatoes have few calories
Potatoes and low calories? You read that right. Because if you take a closer look at the nutritional values, the verdict is incredibly good. What many people don’t know: Potatoes are almost 80 percent water and with 0.1 percent fat they are virtually fat free.
Potatoes are low in calories and keep you full for a long time. © Look Studio / Shutterstock.com
The raw potato provides 68 calories per 100 grams. In contrast to rice (about 345 calories per 100 grams of raw rice) and noodles (362 calories per 100 grams), the healthy tuber is a real lightweight. If you want to save calories, the potato is just the right thing.
2. potatoes last a long time
Potatoes are really good fillers. In a study by the University of Sydney, the potato even came first. This is due to the starch it contains, which is partially broken down in the mouth and thus signals the body particularly early that energy is on its way. This way the feeling of satiety sets in faster.
In addition, starch is a complex carbohydrate that is only broken down slowly. The longer your body has to deal with their breakdown, the longer you will stay full. The potato also contains 2.1 grams of fibre per 100 grams. These are indigestible food components that swell in the intestines and increase the feeling of satiety.
These 10 foods keep you full for a particularly long time
3. potatoes provide vitamins
With 17 milligrams of vitamin C per 100 grams, the potato contains more vitamin C than an apple. However, since the antioxidant is not heat-resistant, you should be careful not to overcook the potato when preparing it. This is because a lot of the good nutrients are destroyed or washed out. It is better to prepare them in the oven than baked potatoes, or in a frying pan.
4. potatoes make happy
After chocolate, pasta and bananas, potatoes are also part of the happiness food. The low-calorie tuber has good carbohydrates to thank for this – and potatoes provide about 15 percent of this.
Potatoes make you happy (not only) when you look at them. © Tatiana Volgutova / Shutterstock.com
These carbohydrates cause insulin to be released during metabolism. Insulin is a hormone that ensures that the amino acid tryptophan is better absorbed in the brain. And this is needed to form the happiness hormone serotonin. Those who regularly take to the potato should thus permanently raise their serotonin levels. The good mood boost is thus ensured.
5. potatoes protect the cells and keep young
The rejuvenation cure is included with potatoes. In addition to vitamins and minerals, they also provide the secondary plant substances. All three food components belong to the so-called antioxidants. These act as a protection for the cells by combating harmful substances, the so-called free radicals.
Antioxidants thus strengthen the immune system, reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and ensure a radiant skin. All you need to do: Reach for the potato regularly.
This makes the pomegranate a real food favourite
6. potatoes are especially good for athletes
Athletes need energy in the form of carbs. But please no puff pastry particles, but only those that provide you with energy for a long time without putting too much strain on the organism.
Potatoes provide you with plenty of energy for sports. © nd3000 / Shutterstock.com
The complex carbohydrates of the potato are perfect for this. They are only broken down slowly, so that the individual sugar molecules only gradually end up in the blood. In this way, your body has good energy suppliers available to it over a longer period of time, providing an extra portion of power. This type of energy is especially important for endurance athletes.
The 10 best pre-workout snacks
7. potatoes can be prepared in many ways
Hardly any other side dish is as varied and lands on plates in so many different variations: as salad, crispy fried potatoes, tender baked potatoes, hearty dumplings, fine puree, or quite classically as jacket potatoes. There is no chance of boredom here.
In the meantime the inconspicuous tuber is even making a name for itself again as a hip trend food. Behind the alias Kumpir hides the classic baked potato, which can be filled with many different toppings. By the way, you can also cook it at home.
How should I prepare potatoes?
Before the low-calorie tuber turns into a real eye-catcher on the plate, it must be cooked. It is not particularly easy to digest raw and can cause severe stomach aches and cramps. Heating it changes its chemical structure, making it easily digestible. You should also follow these tips:
1) Cut out green areas
Potatoes are wonderful to store. In a cool and dark place, they remain edible for weeks. Nevertheless, it can happen that the tubers start to sprout and green spots appear. As long as the sprouts are not longer than 5 centimetres, you can simply cut them out generously.
Green areas should be cut out on potatoes. © Sea Wave / Shutterstock.com How useful are detox teas?
So throwing it away does not have to be the same. But if the potatoes have sprouted too much, you have to say goodbye to them, otherwise they will produce a poisonous substance called solanine. But don’t worry, to get poisoned you’d have to eat 2 kilos easily.
2) Chop the potatoes before cooking
If it takes too long for the whole potato to cook through, you should try this trick: If you cut the big tubers into small cubes before cooking them, it shortens the cooking time many times over. This way you can prepare a delicious puree or low-calorie potato soup in no time at all. But even for jacket potatoes it is perfectly okay to divide especially large tubers.
3) With young potatoes you can save yourself the peeling
Potatoes with or without skin? Opinions are divided on this subject. While some are simply too lazy and say it doesn’t matter, others warn of toxins in the peel. Believe who?
To avoid the whole discussion, you simply reach for so-called young or new potatoes. These are a little smaller, finer and have a much thinner skin, which you can eat without hesitation. The only disadvantage is that they cannot be stored as well as conventional potatoes and should be used up within one or two weeks.
6 reasons to eat pasta made from lentils, beans & co.
4) If you let potatoes cool down, you save calories
Potatoes are best cooked in double the amount. This not only saves time the next day, but also calories. The so-called resistant starch is produced when the potatoes cool down. This is one of the fibres and cannot be absorbed by the intestines.
If you let the potatoes cool down, resistant starch is formed. © Africa Studio / Shutterstock.com
In order for this resistant starch to form, however, you must allow the potatoes to cool down completely. After cooling down, you can either process the low-calorie tuber into a potato salad or heat it up again in the pan or oven.
Firmly cooked or floury: Which potato variety is the best?
Potatoes are divided into 3 categories: waxy, mainly waxy and floury. Depending on the preparation you should pay attention to the right choice.
Firmly boiled potatoes are particularly suitable for salads, but also for all other dishes where you would rather have a firm consistency. Alternatively, you can use mainly waxy potatoes, which are a bit looser and therefore a real all-rounder.
The third variety is floury potatoes, which decompose particularly quickly. They can be used to make wonderful puree or dumplings.
By the way: Depending on the variety, there are not only differences in consistency, but also in nutritional values. Firmly cooked potatoes contain more water and protein. This also makes them the least calorific variety. The starch content of the other two is slightly higher.
These are the foods you should always have in the house
Potatoes are unjustly demonised as fatteners. The native tuber contains a lot of water, few calories, as well as satiating complex carbohydrates – thus it is the perfect fattening food.