Experts Told About Potatoes’ Health Benefits and Harms

Potatoes are a popular, but not the most healthy vegetable. We tell you who should not eat potatoes and in what form they are best. It’s hard to imagine a menu of Ukrainian families without potatoes. But as it turns out, this popular vegetable has both beneficial and harmful properties. Let’s consider them in detail. It’s hard to imagine a menu of a Ukrainian family without potatoes. But as it turned out, this popular vegetable has both useful and harmful properties. Let’s consider them in detail.

Potatoes: benefits and harms

As told by Irina Yuzup – pediatrician and nutritionist, the set of useful substances is influenced by the type of potato and its starch content.

“Small tubers contain more organic acids, minerals, and vitamins. Smaller tubers are also believed to have less starch, which means the smaller the potatoes, the more “dietary” they are,” notes Yuzup.

What is harmful to potatoes?

According to the doctor, unripe and undercooked potatoes are the most unhealthy fruit. When the poison accumulates, the body may respond with type 3 hypersensitivity: delayed allergic reactions and inflammation.

Also, according to medics, there are quite serious harms of potatoes for the joints. Some people who consume a lot of potatoes notice that their joints are getting worse. The main reason is the presence of the alkaloid tropane, to which many people are very sensitive.

What, then, are the benefits of the potato? According to the expert, the main advantage of the vegetable is the peel.

“The shallower the potatoes, the more likely they are to be cooked unpeeled, which will be good for the body,” says Yuzup.

So when choosing potatoes, you should consider the maturity of the tubers, their cleanliness, and the integrity of their surface.

Quite often you can hear the opinion that potatoes are brain killers. Let’s dispel this myth. The fact is that vitamin B6, contained in potatoes, is necessary for the regulation of neurological processes in the body. Researchers in the U.S. and Germany write that they help synthesize the right biological compounds that our brains need.

Which potatoes are best for frying

One of the peculiarities of potatoes is that they provoke excess weight gain, so it is necessary to properly combine them with other food, says Oleg Medvedev, an expert at the Healthy Nutrition Research Center.

According to him, the most dangerous ways to cook potatoes – frying on a griddle and cooking in a deep fryer. It is this processing that converts the starch contained in potatoes into harmful carbohydrates. Blood glucose levels immediately rise, and the pancreas releases a lot of insulin to break it down. Soon insulin resistance can develop, leading to diabetes.

Therefore, to avoid the harm of potatoes, experts advise baking them or boiling them “in a jacket”, then the vegetable retains its useful properties and even brings benefits to the cardiovascular system.

What kind of potatoes is better – white or yellow?

What is the most delicious variety of potatoes – red or white potatoes? According to experts, the color of tubers determines not only the taste qualities but also the “compatibility” with the future dish:

  • yellow potatoes have high levels of carotene, which reduces cholesterol levels and nourishes the organs of vision. Such potatoes are suitable for baking and salads;
  • white potatoes contain a lot of starch; they are better used for boiling and mashed potatoes;
  • red or pink potatoes contain anthocyanin, an antioxidant that prevents premature aging;
  • they contain the least starch, so they are ideal for frying or deep-frying.
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Written by Emma Miller

I am a registered dietitian nutritionist and own a private nutrition practice, where I provide one-on-one nutritional counseling to patients. I specialize in chronic disease prevention/ management, vegan/ vegetarian nutrition, pre-natal/ postpartum nutrition, wellness coaching, medical nutrition therapy, and weight management.

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