It is often said that the key to getting an adequate amount of vitamin and mineral in the diet is to include some colorful amount of fruits and vegetables in your meal.
Red fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants and anthocyanin. Orange and yellow vegetable are rich in beta-carotene, which body converts to vitamin A. Green vegetables like spinach, kale, fenugreek contain vitamin K, which helps in blood clotting and white fruits and vegetables are high in dietary fiber including apples, pears, cauliflower and cucumber.
Potato has been underrated and has earned a bad reputation due to high starch content-leading to believe that it should be cut out of diet altogether. This belief has been proved right because most individual eat potatoes in the form of greasy french fries or potato chips.
Having visited many of the restaurants in New York City for brunch I realized that even baked potatoes were typically loaded with fat such as butter, sour cream, melted cheese and bacon bits which makes this fat guy unpopular among people. On the contrary, if this extra fat is removed from baked potato, it makes it an exceptionally healthful low calorie, high fiber food that offers significant protection against cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Potatoes also contain a compound known as alpha lipoic acid, which helps the body to convert glucose to energy. Quercetin, a flavonoid found in potato skin posseses powerful anti-inflammatory properties and anti oxidant capabilities that protects the body’s cells from free radical damage.
They are a good source of amino acid lysine and tryptophan and when combined with milk or egg, make for a high quality protein food. Because of the diversity ways in which potatoes are prepared, the nutritional content of potato meal is variable. Nutrient losses through cooking depend upon temperature and length of cooking time. Water-soluble vitamins and minerals like B-vitamin, vitamin C and potassium leech out from potatoes into cooking water when boiled. Boiling potatoes with skin greatly reduces these nutrient losses.
I would like to bring awareness among potato lovers that there are many health benefits of consuming potatoes. Maintaining a low sodium intake makes it essential in lowering blood pressure. According to the National Health survey, potassium, calcium and magnesium have been found naturally to decrease blood pressure. Vitamin C and Vitamin B6 coupled with significant amount of fiber, which helps lower the total amount of cholesterol in the blood decreases the risk of heart disease.
It has also been studied that vitamin B6 prevents the build up of a compound known as homocystein. When excessive amount of homocystein accumulates in the body, it can damage blood vessels and leads to heart problems.
Many people are not able to tolerate gluten, which is a protein found in wheat and rye. For people who need to follow a gluten free diet, potatoes become an important part of meal plan.
Over frying of potatoes for making potato chips results in the formation of a compound named acrylamide. Acrylamide forms from sugar and amino acid (asparagine a building block of protein) found naturally in foods that are fried or roasted. This compound is likely to increase when the foods are cooked longer with higher temperature. Boiling or steaming of same food does not result in acrylamide formation. The darker the potato the more acrylamide formation. FDA has found that slicing potatoes and soaking them for 30 minutes before frying reduces acrylamide formation. Interestingly, storing the potatoes in the refrigerator can also increase formation of acrylamide during cooking.
I would sincerely recommend avoiding frying of potatoes since it leads to cancer and also increases unnecessary calories. Potato, if baked along with the skin retains all essential nutrients and if eaten along with grilled chicken or steak will provide with the necessary combination of nutrients required by our body.