Who says taters are only good for junk food and fries? Not U.K. scientists, who revealed that potatoes are much more nutritious than originally thought. In fact, they’re so healthy that you can limit your diet to them and stay “pretty healthy,” reported The Daily Mail.
According to the publishers of Potato – A basis for human nutrition and health benefits, they’ve uncovered compelling evidence that potatoes bring a host of previously unrecognized health benefits to their consumers, such as curbing dementia and heart attack.
“The studies we looked at found a whole raft of different benefits,” remarked Professor Derek Stewart of the James Hutton Institute (JHI) in Dundee, Scotland. He believed it was possible to subsist solely on potatoes and stay pretty healthy thanks to the nutrients they contain.
“There are not many crops you can say that about,” he noted.
Professor Stewart co-authored the 60-page report alongside Dr. Mark Taylor, who was also from JHI.
What did we miss in taters?
The two researchers explained potatoes are loaded with vitamins, macro minerals and micro minerals. Each tuber has plenty of vitamin C, vitamin B6 and vitamin B9. Potatoes are also rich in carotenoids, polyphenols and dietary fiber.
They also undertook epidemiology studies involving large populations, their consumption of potatoes and the prevalence of cardiovascular disease and other degenerative diseases. (Related: How to beat heart disease with diet and lifestyle.)
“And what came up there was replacing meat in the diet with vegetables and potatoes is linked with a lower risk of heart attack,” Dr. Stewart said. “Other research has found a strong association with enhanced cognitive function in the elderly if they’re eating potatoes.”
He and Dr. Taylor uncovered trends where people who ate potatoes and other vegetables instead of meat were shown to enjoy fewer painful heart attacks. They also looked into the processes by which potatoes can improve cognitive function and thus head off the onset of dementia.
“Potatoes should be reassessed as a source of nutrient and beneficial chemicals as well as a food,” they urged.
The Stewart-Taylor report challenged the general assumption that potatoes are inferior sources of nutrition when the tubers have just as many vitamins and nutrients as widely-acknowledged fruits and leafy vegetables.
“It is clear from the information outlined above that potato is an important part of the diet for good nutritional health and should be considered as a source of multiple nutritional benefits,” the authors said.
The report Potato – A basis for human nutrition and health benefits was funded by the Agricultural and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB). It has not yet been published in a science journal.
Potatoes can be baked, fried or mashed. The minerals found inside the starchy tubers can withstand numerous cooking and processing methods.
The researchers warned against eating large amounts of french fries. But the popular fried food’s links to obesity are attributed to the way they are deep fried in vegetable oil rather than to the potatoes themselves.
They also added that potatoes have a high satiety index when compared to other foods that have just as much in the way of carbohydrates.
The skins themselves are considered to be highly nutritious, with the Jersey Royal type from the Channel Islands earning special notice.
The peelings figure into Michelin-starred chef Heston Blumenthal’s recipe for delicious roast potatoes. He suggested adding the potato skin to the water used to parboil potatoes before frying or roasting them.
Chef Blumenthal also advised extending the parboiling period for at least 20 minutes.