Potatoes: ingredients and healthy recipes

Potatoes are an integral part of the German diet. French fries, potatoes with quark, potato pancakes or fried potatoes are just a few of the many uses for the nightshade plant. The type of preparation has a major impact on the health value of the potatoes, because the tubers themselves contain hardly any fat and only a few calories, but still contain numerous healthy  nutrients . But if they are fried or baked with  cheese  , for example, that changes quickly, of course. We’ll show you what’s in potatoes and which recipes with potatoes are particularly healthy.

Potatoes: High in carbs, low in calories

Potatoes are known for their high carbohydrate content and are therefore often mistaken for fattening foods. In fact, the tubers, also known as potatoes, can be good helpers when it comes to losing weight.

Potatoes provide a lot of carbohydrates, but they fill you up for a long time. They contain a lot of nutrients, but almost  no fat at all. These properties should not be underestimated, because carbohydrates have less than half the calories of fat.

Cooked potatoes, for example, only have 73 kilocalories (kcal) per 100 grams (300 kilojoules) – that’s even less than  rice , which provides over 100 kilocalories when cooked. Potatoes are also significantly lower in calories compared to pasta.

Did you know? Cold or warmed potatoes from the day before have about 3.5 kcal less than freshly prepared potatoes. Because when it cools down, some of the starch is converted into the  dietary fiber  inulin. Resistant starch is produced, which is digested differently and therefore has a lower calorie content.

By the way, sweet potatoes are only very distantly related to the potato. With 86 kilocalories per 100 grams, however, they are more calorie-rich than potatoes.

Nutritional Values ​​of Potatoes

Due to their starch content, raw potatoes are indigestible for humans – the starch only changes when they are cooked and makes the vegetables edible for us. On average, cooked potatoes contain the following nutritional values:

  • 80 percent water
  • 14 percent carbohydrates, mostly in the form of starch
  • 2.1 percent dietary fiber, which stimulates digestion and creates a long-lasting satiety effect
  • 2 percent protein, which   can be utilized extremely well by the body due to the high content of essential amino acids . Of all vegetable sources of protein, potatoes even have the highest proportion of usable proteins.
  • 0.1 percent fat

vitamins and other nutrients

Potatoes also provide  vitamin C , vitamins B1 and B2 as well as  niacin  (vitamin B3), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) and  vitamin B6 , with the amount depending on the type of preparation. Potatoes are also a good source of the  minerals  zincironpotassium , calcium,  phosphorus  and magnesium.

The secondary plant substances it contains,  flavonoids  and anthocyanins, can also have a positive effect on health. Lysine, an essential amino acid, is also found in the healthy tubers.  Potatoes do not contain gluten, cholesterol or the  purines that promote gout .

Health value depends on the type of preparation

Unfortunately, it is unavoidable that some of the valuable vitamins and minerals in potatoes are lost during cooking. However, in order to keep the loss of healthy ingredients low, potatoes should be boiled or steamed unpeeled and whole with a little water.

The following examples show how the health value of potatoes changes depending on how they are prepared:

  • Jacket potatoes  have more vitamins than boiled potatoes, which are peeled and cut into pieces before cooking.
  • When  potatoes  are baked in the oven, they lose water, increasing the concentration of their other ingredients.
  •  Less vitamins and minerals are lost when  cooking in a pressure cooker than when cooking.
  • In addition to mashed potatoes  , mashed potatoes usually also contain butter and  milk . Depending on the amount added, the fat and calorie content in mashed potatoes is significantly higher than in potatoes.
  • French fries  or potato chips are prepared with a lot of fat and at high temperatures and are therefore among the unhealthiest potato varieties.
  • Fried potatoes  made from raw potatoes are particularly rich in nutrients because all the ingredients remain in the pan when fried. But it is important that the potatoes are prepared with little fat.

Potatoes as medicine?

In addition to their slimming effect and their healthy ingredients, potatoes are valued for other health effects. In folk medicine, the alkaline  potato juice  is used , for example, to treat stomach problems or  heartburn  and – applied externally – to treat injuries and ulcers.

Potato wraps  have also  established themselves as home remedies. It is often recommended that if you have a cough or  sore throat  , you should mash boiled potatoes in a tea towel and, after allowing them to cool briefly, place them on your chest or wrap them around your neck. The potato wrap then continuously provides soothing warmth. Such a packet of potatoes is also said to provide relief for  earaches  or sinus infections.

In addition, American scientists found that regular  consumption of blue potatoes  can slightly lower blood pressure. Due to the small number of participants, however, the results of the study cannot be considered scientifically proven.

Lose weight with the potato diet

While the low-carb diet usually banishes potatoes from the diet plan, the potato diet relies entirely on the versatile tubers. The recipes contain dishes such as baked potatoes with low-fat quark or unsalted jacket potatoes seasoned with herbs.

Cold potatoes, for example in potato salad, are said to be even better for losing weight because of the slightly reduced calorie content. However, it is important to drink a lot during the diet so that the roughage in the digestive tract can swell better.

Solanine – toxic substance in potatoes

But not everything on a potato is healthy: Just like the sprouted sprouts, green spots on potatoes contain the nerve toxin solanine, which in large quantities  can cause nauseadiarrhea , a sore throat and headaches.

Therefore, when preparing potatoes, sprouts and  green areas  should be generously cut away. If a potato has turned green extensively, it is advisable to throw it away completely. In the case of small children and people with a weakened immune system, one should be particularly critical when selecting the edible pieces.

Since the skin of potatoes always contains some solanine, the vegetables should be cooked with the skin on, but it is better to remove it before consumption (as well as the cooking water), especially if you eat potatoes frequently. Since most of the nutrients are under the skin of new potatoes, these potatoes are usually eaten with the skin on. Particular caution is therefore required here.

Store potatoes properly

The green spots appear when potatoes look out of the ground and are exposed to sunlight during cultivation, or when they are stored with too much light. Potatoes should therefore always  be stored in the dark.  Paper bags, for example, offer the possibility of storing the potatoes away from light without them  sweating .

It is best to keep the potatoes at 5 to 10 degrees Celsius in well-ventilated rooms with high humidity – if stored appropriately, they can even be kept for several months.

By the way, potatoes are not well suited  for freezing,  otherwise they will become watery and lose their taste. Boiled potatoes should only be frozen briefly.

Tips for buying potatoes

To prevent sprouting, potatoes are often treated with sprouting inhibitors, small amounts of which can also get from the skin into the flesh. It is therefore advisable   to buy organic potatoes , especially if the tubers are to be eaten unpeeled.

In addition, the potatoes should appear dry and firm when you buy them. It is better to keep your hands off discolored, shriveled or moist potatoes.

Floury or waxy potatoes?

There are around 5,000 different types of potatoes worldwide. On the basis of their cooking properties, a distinction is made between waxy, predominantly waxy and floury varieties of potatoes, which are more or less suitable for different purposes.

  • Waxy potatoes  are less starchy and will hold their shape when baked or boiled. They are therefore particularly suitable for potato salad, gratin or fried potatoes, for example. Well-known waxy potato varieties are Linda, Nicola, Cilena or Belana.
  • Predominantly waxy potatoes  easily crack during preparation. They are used for the production of boiled and jacket potatoes, French fries, soups or rösti. This category includes varieties such as Laura, Agria or Gala.
  • Mealy potatoes  often burst when cooking and are therefore particularly suitable for mashed potatoes, stew, dumplings or dumplings. Representatives of this species are Adretta, Melina or Freya.

In addition, potatoes can also differ in the color of the flesh, in their shape, in the taste and in the texture and color of the skin.

Depending on the variety, the harvest takes place from mid-June (early potatoes) until late October. Potatoes from warmer countries are already available from February.

Cooking potatoes – you should keep this in mind

Before cooking, you should wash the potatoes thoroughly and use a knife to remove any sprouts and green areas. Then you put the tubers – ideally undivided and with the skin – in a pot with cold water so that they are just covered with water. When the water is boiling, add a pinch of salt and reduce the temperature. With the lid closed, the water should now only simmer slightly.

How long potatoes have to cook can vary depending on the variety. A rough guide is 15 to 20 minutes from the time the water starts to boil. The duration also depends on the size. It is advisable to select tubers of a similar size and, towards the end of the cooking time, to test whether they are also soft on the inside by carefully piercing them with a knife.

When they are done, the potatoes are drained. Rinsing in cold water can make peeling easier, but isn’t a must.

9 ideas for healthy recipes with potatoes

Potatoes are extremely versatile. They are suitable both for savory dishes, such as baked potatoes when grilling, and for sweet dishes, such as potato pancakes with applesauce. Here are nine healthy recipe ideas with potatoes:

  1. Arugula Potato Soup:  For this quick and easy appetizer, potatoes are boiled in vegetable broth and then mashed with fresh arugula.
  2. Apple and potato casserole:  For this purpose, apple slices, potato slices and onion rings are alternately layered in a casserole dish. Leek cream soup can serve as a sauce.
  3. Potato wedges  with parsnips and  carrots :  all the ingredients are cut into small pieces, the potatoes are seasoned with paprika powder and a little salt and everything is cooked in the oven with a little oil.
  4. Potato Leek Soup:  This classic can be made with or without minced meat.
  5. Potato and kohlrabi puree:  The boiled potatoes and  kohlrabi  are simply pureed together. Carrots can also be mixed well into the puree.
  6. Potato and vegetable casserole:  Broccoli, cauliflower or zucchini can be used here, for example.
  7. Asparagus with potatoes:  A healthy alternative to the popular Hollandaise sauce, for example, is wild garlic pesto, which goes particularly well with  green asparagus  .
  8. Potato and cucumber salad:  The salad is a refreshing side dish in summer, for example when grilling.
  9. Potato and pumpkin soup:  This autumnal delicacy can be prepared from potatoes and Hokkaido pumpkin, for example.
    As the recipe ideas show, potatoes offer numerous opportunities for a varied and healthy diet – there are no limits to your imagination.

As the recipe ideas show, potatoes offer numerous opportunities for a varied and healthy diet – there are no limits to your imagination.

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