The humble potato is a beautiful thing. Roasted, mashed, smashed, fried, chipped, boiled, baked, grated or spiralled; served with meats, cheeses, sauces, veges, beans, bacon or gravy – what other food is as versatile as the spud?
In New Zealand we’re able to get a great variety of potatoes – even though the country nearly went into meltdown last month when a potato shortage threatened our chip supply! Luckily it seems we’re going to be OK after all, so I thought I’d celebrate our potatoes – and our incredibly hardworking potato growers – by writing about just how healthy and versatile these delicious nuggets of nutrition are.
Need potato inspiration? Try my recipe for Herb Roasted Piccolos, Zesty Salmon Salad with Crispy Potatoes or Spiced Tomato Baked Eggs with Sweet Potato & Guacamole.
Potatoes & nutrition
Potatoes are high in fibre (most of which is in the skin), and contain 10% of our recommended daily intake of Vitamin C, folate, thiamin, niacin, pantothenic acid and potassium. To translate:
- Vitamin C helps keep our immune system functioning, helps combat fatigue, helps with collagen formation, strengthens our neurological and psychological functioning ability and helps us absorb iron from food.
- Folate, also known as Vitamin B9, is necessary for normal blood formation and cell division. Important during pregnancy, folate also strengthens our immune system, and helps combat fatigue.
- Thiamin, or Vitamin B1, enables the body to convert carbohydrates to energy. The main role of carbs is to provide energy for the body, especially the brain and nervous system.
- Niacin, or Vitamin B3, is good for heart health, the digestive system and skin. It helps lower cholesterol, and has been known to lessen arthritis symptoms too.
- Pantothenic Acid, or Vitamin B5, can help alleviate symptoms of asthma, hair loss, allergies, respiratory disorders and heart disease. It is also very beneficial for treating stress, anxiety and other mental function.
- Potassium plays a role in every single heartbeat. It helps regulate fluid balance, nerve signals and muscle contractions, and plays a vital role in keeping our heart functioning, and maintaining normal blood pressure. It balances out the negative effects of salt by helping the kidneys function well.