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Rating Forms of Potatoes by How Wholesome They Are

It’s St. Patrick’s Day, which implies a tide of green-clad frat bros have in all probability already kicked down your entrance door and puked in your sneakers. This survival information is designed to get you thru the worst day of the 12 months in as few items as potential.
Eire and the common-or-garden potato have a prolonged, tumultuous relationship. Within the 1700s, potatoes had been extensively cultivated in Eire — many sources even declare that the common Irish peasant consumed about 10 kilos of potatoes every day, which, life objectives.
On the time, potatoes had been the best meals — they supplied protein, nutritional vitamins and complicated carbohydrates. Actually, many imagine that potatoes had been the impetus for the Irish inhabitants greater than doubling between 1780 and 1840.
However then got here the blight — a fungus that precipitated mildew to kind on all elements of the potato plant, turning the once-beloved spuds right into a mushy, inedible mess — and Eire’s relationship with the potato turned bitter. The following occasions have come to be often called The Nice Famine, which was totally devastating. Eire relied on potatoes, and with out them, many individuals had been liable to hunger on prime of the lack of their properties and farmland. By 1848, about a million persons are believed to have perished, and one other 1.5 million compelled emigrate, principally to the U.S.
You may suppose that such a disaster would eternally destroy the potato for Irish folks, however for some Irish-People, at the least, planting (and celebrating) potatoes on St. Patrick’s Day is a practice that continues to this present day (gotta love that infinite quest for “authenticity!”).
However in fact, potatoes are available many shapes and kinds, some more healthy than others, which brings me to why we’re right here: In celebration of St. Patrick’s Day — and the potato — I requested nutritionist David Friedman, writer of Meals Sanity: How you can Eat in a World of Fads and Fiction, to assist me rank widespread forms of potatoes — from tremendous wholesome to tremendous not.
Right here’s what he got here up with…
1) Pink Potatoes: “Pink potatoes include the best ranges of nutritional vitamins, minerals and wholesome phytochemicals,” Friedman explains. “They’re excessive in quercetin, a flavonoid with highly effective anti-cancer and anti inflammatory properties. Additionally they supply extra lutein (for eye well being) and choline (for mind well being) than every other potato on this checklist. One massive pink potato provides half of the beneficial dietary allowance of vitamin B6, which aids within the metabolism of protein, carbohydrates and lipids and helps within the formation of pink blood cells. A single pink potato additionally provides 30 p.c of the beneficial day by day consumption of niacin, which is crucial for vitality manufacturing from meals and helps digestion. Niacin additionally helps decrease LDL ldl cholesterol — i.e., ‘dangerous ldl cholesterol’ — and helps wholesome pores and skin and nerves.”
“Relating to the mineral potassium, which is important for coronary heart, nerve and muscle management, most individuals consider a banana because the go-to — truly, a banana solely accommodates 422 milligrams of potassium, in comparison with a pink potato, which accommodates a whopping 1,670 milligrams of potassium,” Friedman continues. “Elevated potassium consumption permits the physique to excrete extra sodium via the urine, which can assist decrease blood stress. Additionally, a lot of the dietary worth of the pink potato is present in its pores and skin, so by no means peel them. Put together them baked of their pores and skin for the perfect dietary worth.”
2) Candy Potatoes: “Despite the fact that they’ve the phrase ‘candy’ of their title, these potatoes are diabetic-friendly and received’t spike your blood sugar,” Friedman says. “Actually, their excessive fiber content material truly helps with blood glucose management and weight administration.”
“Orange-fleshed candy potatoes are one in all nature’s unsurpassed sources of beta-carotene, which is required for wholesome pores and skin and mucous membranes, our immune system, good eye well being and imaginative and prescient,” Friedman continues. “Candy potatoes are additionally excessive in manganese, which aids within the formation of connective tissue, bones, blood-clotting components and intercourse hormones. This mineral additionally performs a task in fats and carbohydrate metabolism, calcium absorption and blood sugar regulation.”
Lastly, a scorching tip: “After a strenuous exercise on the health club, devour a candy potato with just a little cinnamon on prime (which has anti-inflammatory properties) and your muscle tissue will get better twice as quick,” Friedman suggests.
3) Purple Potatoes: “These are thought of to be a part of the candy potato household, however as a substitute of being orange on the within, they’re purple,” Friedman explains. “What makes them completely different than the orange-colored candy potatoes are two genes — IbMYB1 and IbMYB2 — that get activated to provide the pigments chargeable for the wealthy purple tones of the flesh. The purple is because of anthocyanins — primarily peonidins and cyanidins — which have necessary antioxidant and anti inflammatory properties. Actually, purple potatoes include 4 instances as many antioxidants as russet potatoes.”
“Additionally they could assist to decrease the potential well being threat posed by heavy metals and free radicals,” Friedman continues. “Purple potatoes have been discovered to gradual the expansion of sure forms of most cancers cells in test-tube research, together with bladder, colon, abdomen and breast most cancers. Lastly, a research offered by the American Chemical Society discovered that consuming purple potatoes could decrease blood stress. This could possibly be due to their excessive focus of a phytochemical referred to as chlorogenic acid, which has been linked to a lowered hypertension.”
4) Russet Potatoes: “Many confuse russet and white potatoes as being the identical factor, however they’re fairly completely different,” Friedman emphasizes. “Should you’re a steak-and-potato individual, russet is your go-to. Russet potatoes are bigger and extra rectangular in form than white potatoes, they usually have a more durable pores and skin, which can also be generally saved for skin-on French fries.”
Russet potatoes are additionally typically more healthy than white potatoes. “Russet potatoes supply the next fiber content material than white potatoes, which helps enhance intestine well being,” Friedman continues. “Russets are additionally a great supply of iron, which helps wholesome blood, and magnesium, which is required for coronary heart, nerve and immune system perform.”
Nonetheless, the best way you eat your russet potatoes can actually change up how wholesome they’re. “Should you prime a baked russet potato with butter, bitter cream and bacon bits, it could rapidly turn into an artery-clogging monstrosity,” Friedman says. “However eaten plain or with heart-healthy garnishments, corresponding to olive oil and chopped chives, a russet potato accommodates vitamins and fiber that may profit your coronary heart, bones, immune system and metabolism. Make your baked russet potato even more healthy and extra flavorful by including some parsley or inexperienced onions, or topped with sautéed mushrooms and bell peppers.”
5) Fingerling Potatoes: “A fingerling potato is a small, stubby, finger-shaped potato,” Friedman says (therefore the title). “Fingerlings are a superb supply of vitamin B6, which performs an necessary position within the manufacturing of pink blood cells, liver cleansing and upkeep of the mind and nervous system. Fingerling potatoes are additionally wealthy in vitamin C, which has immune boosting properties.”
6) White Potatoes: “White potatoes are a great supply of a number of vitamins, together with potassium, magnesium, dietary fiber and vitamin B6,” Friedman explains. “The white spud can also be a superb supply of resistant starch, which feeds the pleasant micro organism in your intestines. White potatoes are an excellent supply of high-quality protein, too, due to their superior amino acid advanced. White potatoes truly exceed the beneficial amino acid ranges for lysine, methionine, threonine and tryptophan — amino acids that play an important position in mobile restore.”
Nonetheless, white potatoes even have a draw back. “The adverse side of white potatoes is that they’re thought of a high-calorie meals in comparison with different staple meals, corresponding to rice and pasta,” Friedman says. That stated: “The carbohydrate or starchy a part of this potato additionally ranks excessive on the glycemic index — which means it enters the bloodstream quicker, which is a plus should you’re an endurance athlete. Meals is gas and a plain baked potato makes a superb meal earlier than a difficult exercise.”
7) New Potatoes: New potatoes aren’t actually a spread by themselves — they’re merely the infant model of any potato {that a} farmer grows, Friedman explains. “New potatoes get purposely thinned out early within the season as a way to make room for the remainder of the potatoes to mature.”
“A single cooked new potato accommodates solely 25 energy, and about 85 p.c of these energy come from carbohydrates, whereas practically 10 p.c come from protein and 4 p.c or much less from fats,” Friedman continues. “New potatoes supply some nutritional vitamins and minerals, nevertheless, as a result of they haven’t absolutely matured, new potatoes have much less dietary worth than their fully-grown counterparts.”
8) Mashed Potatoes: “A standard selfmade serving of mashed potatoes can include 237 energy or extra after they’re ready with butter and entire milk,” Friedman says. “Some eating places use heavy cream to arrange their mashed potatoes, which drives the fats and calorie rely even increased. Prime your mashed potatoes with gravy, they usually might simply attain 450 energy.”
Nonetheless, you may make more healthy mashed potatoes at dwelling — should you’re prepared to scrimp on the butter, that’s. “Mix cauliflower with the potatoes to get a buttery, easy taste with fewer carbs,” Friedman suggests. “You too can whip potatoes with Greek yogurt to get a creamy consistency. Then, as a substitute of butter, you may give your mashed potatoes some zest through the use of additional virgin olive oil and seasonings, like chives, paprika, garlic or thyme. Lastly, forego fatty milk and take a look at utilizing more healthy cashew milk as a substitute.”
9) French Fries: “I’ve had many sufferers who imagine that consuming French fries is including a wholesome vegetable to their weight-reduction plan,” Friedman says. “Sadly, that’s not true. French fries aren’t solely unhealthy — they’re doubtlessly lethal. In an eight-year research revealed within the American Journal of Scientific Vitamin, fried potatoes can truly enhance your threat of morality. Consuming extra potatoes on the whole didn’t have any well being dangers related with them, however researchers discovered that fried potatoes of any form, like French fries and hash browns, elevated mortality threat twofold.”
“One purpose French fries are so dangerous for you is the quantity of trans fat they include,” Friedman continues. “Consuming trans fat has been proven to extend the danger of coronary artery illness partly by elevating ranges of ‘dangerous ldl cholesterol,’ decreasing ranges of ‘good ldl cholesterol’ and growing triglyceride ranges [which can contribute to fatty buildups in your arteries]. Then there’s a chemical in French fries, acrylamide, which has been linked to an elevated most cancers threat.”
Worse but, dipping them in ketchup solely provides gas to the unhealthy hearth. “Ketchup accommodates excessive fructose corn syrup, which has been linked to inflicting consideration deficit dysfunction, weight problems, coronary heart illness and most cancers,” Friedman says. “Two tablespoons of ketchup additionally accommodates eight grams of sugar, and most of the people gob greater than this on their plate of fries.”
“Should you love French fries, there’s a more healthy option to eat them,” Friedman continues. “As an alternative of frying them, strive baking them within the oven utilizing additional virgin olive oil. Then, as a substitute of white processed salt, use a more healthy selection, like black Hawaiian salt or Himalayan sea salt.”
So it appears to be like like, as soon as once more, fries ought to be off the menu. But when I get to compensate by yeeting a pair kilos of normal potatoes into my mouth, that doesn’t sound so dangerous.

Ian Lecklitner

Ian Lecklitner is a workers author at MEL Journal. He principally writes about everybody’s favourite issues: Intercourse, medication and meals.