Potatoes are an indispensable part of the German diet. French fries, potatoes with cottage cheese, 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 potatoes, because the tubers themselves contain little fat and only a few calories. Of course, if they are deep-fried or baked with cheese as a casserole, of course, that changes quickly. We will show you what potatoes are all about and which recipes with potatoes are especially healthy.
Potatoes: lots of carbohydrates, few calories
Potatoes are known for their high content of carbohydrates and are therefore mistaken for fattening. In fact, tubers, also known as the earth apple, can be good helpers in losing weight.
Although potatoes provide a lot of carbohydrates, but make for a long time full. They contain many nutrients, but virtually no fat. These properties are not to be underestimated, because carbohydrates do not even have half as many calories as fat.
Boiled potatoes only boil up to 70 kilocalories per 100 grams - even less than rice that delivers more than 100 kilocalories in cooked form.
Nutrition facts of potatoes
Raw potatoes are indigestible to humans because of the starch they contain - only when cooking does the starch change and make the vegetables edible for us. The average calorie content and nutritional value are almost the same for raw and cooked potatoes. They contain:
- 78 percent water
- 16 percent carbohydrates, mostly in the form of starch
- 2.1 percent fiber, which stimulates digestion and produces a long-lasting satiety effect
- 2 percent protein, which can be extremely well utilized by the body due to the high content of essential amino acids. Of all the vegetable protein suppliers, potatoes even have the highest proportion of usable proteins.
- 0.1 percent fat
In addition, potatoes provide vitamin C, vitamins B1 and B2, as well as niacin (vitamin B2), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) and vitamin B6, the amount depending on the type of preparation. Also as a source of the minerals potassium, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium potatoes are well suited. Gluten, cholesterol or the gout promoting purines are not included in potatoes.
Health value depends on the type of preparation
That part of the valuable vitamins and minerals of the potatoes is lost during cooking is, unfortunately, inevitable. However, to minimize the loss of healthy ingredients, potatoes should be cooked unpeeled and boiled whole with a little water or steamed.
The following examples show how the health value of potatoes changes due to the way they are prepared:
- Boiled 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.
- When cooking in a pressure cooker, more vitamins and minerals are lost than when cooking.
- Mashed potatoes usually contain butter and milk in addition to mashed potatoes. 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 plenty of fat and at high temperatures and therefore belong to the unhealthiest potato varieties.
- Roast potatoes from raw potatoes have a particularly high level of nutrients since all ingredients remain in the pan when frying. But it is important that you prepare the potatoes with little fat.
Incidentally, sweet potatoes are only very distantly related to the potato. With 111 kilocalories per 100 grams, however, they are significantly higher in calories than potatoes.
Potatoes as medicine?
In addition to their effect as a slimming agent and their healthy ingredients, potatoes are still valued for other health effects. In folk medicine, the basic potato juice is used, for example, for stomach problems or heartburn and - externally applied - for injuries and ulcers.
Potato wraps have also established themselves as home remedies. It is often recommended to mash boiled potatoes in a dishcloth for a cough or sore throat, and after a brief cooling down place them on the chest or wrap them around the neck. The potato wrap then donates continuously a soothing heat. Even with earache or sinusitis, such a potato packet should provide relief.
In addition, American scientists found that regular consumption of blue potatoes can easily lower blood pressure. Due to the small number of study participants, however, the results of the study can not be considered scientifically proven.
Losing weight with the potato diet
While the low carb diet banishes potatoes from the diet plan, the potato diet relies entirely on the versatile tubers. The recipes include dishes such as baked quark potatoes with cottage cheese or unsalted herbal-flavored jacket potatoes.
Cold potatoes are even better suited for weight loss, for example in potato salad. Because when cooling, part of the starch is converted into the fiber inulin. But it is important to drink a lot during the diet so that the fiber in the digestive tract can swell better.
Solanin - poisonous substance in potatoes
But not everything about a potato is healthy: just like the expelled germs, green spots on potatoes contain the neurotoxin solanine, which can cause nausea, diarrhea, and headaches in large quantities.
Therefore, when preparing potatoes, germs and green spots should be cut away generously. If a potato is colored green over a large area, it is advisable to throw it away completely. In small children and people with weakened immune systems, one should be particularly critical in the selection of edible pieces.
Since the shell of potatoes always contains some solanine, you should cook the vegetables with shell, but peel better before eating, especially if you often eat potatoes. One exception is early potatoes, where most of the nutrients sit under the shell, which is why these small potatoes are usually eaten with peel.
Store potatoes properly
The green spots occur when potatoes are stored too lightly. Therefore you should always store potatoes dark. Paper bags, for example, offer the opportunity to keep the potatoes protected from light, without them sweating.
In addition, the potatoes should be stored at 5 to 10 degrees Celsius in well-ventilated rooms with high humidity - then they can even be preserved for several months.
Incidentally, potatoes are not good for freezing, otherwise they will become watery and lose their flavor. Cooked potatoes should be frozen at most for a short time.
Tips for buying potatoes
Potatoes are often treated with anti-sprouting agents to prevent the sprouting of germs, which can also reach the pulp in small quantities from the skin. Therefore, it is advisable to buy organic potatoes, especially if the tubers are to be eaten with shell.
In addition, the potatoes should appear dry and firm when buying. From discolored, shriveled or damp potatoes, you should rather keep your fingers.
Flour or pot-boiling potatoes?
There are about 5, 000 different varieties of potatoes worldwide. On the basis of their cooking properties, potatoes are divided into hard-boiling, predominantly hard-cooking and floury-boiled varieties which are suitable for different uses in different ways.
- Hard-boiled potatoes have less strength and retain their shape when baked or cooked. They are therefore particularly well suited for example for potato salad, gratin or fried potatoes. Known firm potato varieties are Linda, Nicola, Cilena or Belana.
- Predominantly hard-boiling potatoes are easy to bake when cooked. They are used for the production of salt and jacket potatoes, French fries, soups or rösti. This category includes varieties such as Laura, Agria or Gala.
- Mehligkochende potatoes burst during cooking often and are therefore particularly suitable for mashed potatoes, stew, dumplings or dumplings. Representatives of this kind are Adretta, Melina or Freya.
In addition, potatoes may also differ in the color of the pulp, in their shape and in the texture and color of the peel.
Cook potatoes - you should pay attention
Before cooking, you should wash potatoes thoroughly and remove any shoots and green spots with a knife. Then put the tubers - ideally in one piece and with a bowl - in a pot of cold water so that they are just covered with water. When the water boils, add a pinch of salt and reduce the temperature. When the lid is closed, the water should now simmer only slightly.
How long potatoes have to cook can vary depending on the variety. A rough guideline is 15 to 20 minutes from when the water begins to boil. The duration also depends on the size. It is recommended to select tubers of similar size for cooking and to test at the end of the cooking time by gently tapping with the knife, whether they are soft on the inside.
If they are cooked, the potatoes are poured off. Quenching with cold water can make peeling easier, but is not a must.
9 ideas for healthy recipes with potatoes
Potatoes are enormously versatile. They are suitable for hearty dishes, such as baked potatoes when grilling, as well as for sweet foods, such as potato pancakes with applesauce. Here are nine healthy recipe ideas with potatoes:
- Arugula and Potato Soup: For this quick and easy starter, potatoes are cooked in vegetable broth and then mashed with fresh rocket.
- Apple and potato casserole: Apple slices, potato slices and onion rings are alternately layered in a casserole dish. Leek cream soup can serve as a sauce.
- Potato wedges with parsnips and carrots: All 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.
- Potato and leek soup: The soup is a classic and can be prepared with or without minced meat.
- Potato and kohlrabi puree: After cooking, the potatoes and kohlrabi are simply mashed together. Carrots can also be mixed well with the puree.
- Potato and vegetable casserole: In the casserole, for example, broccoli, cauliflower or zucchini can be processed.
- Asparagus with potatoes: A healthy alternative to the popular hollandaise sauce, for example, is a wild garlic pesto that goes particularly well with green asparagus.
- Potato and cucumber salad: The salad is a summery refreshing garnish, for example when grilling.
- Potato and pumpkin soup: The autumnal soup can be prepared, for example, from potatoes and Hokkaido pumpkin.
As the recipe ideas show, potatoes offer numerous opportunities for a varied and healthy diet - the imagination knows no bounds.