Potato, solanum tuberosum, is a plant of the Solanaceae family. The edible part of the plant is formed by tubers, the potatoes, that are the enlarged underground stems. Potatoes can be purchased either when they have reached full maturity or when their development has been interrupted, in this case we speak of new potatoes. Be careful in case of germinated potatoes because solanine, a toxic alkaloid, is produced at this stage. Therefore, the germinated potato should not be eaten. Potatoes are a low-fat food while they are rich in carbohydrates, and therefore energy. Not only that, potatoes also provide proteins, in small quantities but of high biological value, mineral salts such as potassium, which gives the potatoes calming and relaxing properties on muscles and nervous system, calcium, iron, phosphorus and sodium, and vitamins, especially of the group B and C (Camire et al, Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr, 2009). Finally, potatoes also contain chlorogenic acid, in the pulp and in even greater quantities in the peel. This substance is antioxidant, anti-diabetes, anti-inflammatory, anti-obesity and anticancer, is reduced after storage and cooking but a part always remains present in the tuber (Weidel et al, JAOAC Int, May 2014 - Tajik et al, Eur J Nutr, 2017). Potatoes should be limited in case of diabetes. Let’s see some pieces of advice to cook and serve potatoes.
Potatoes, some cooking tips
Potatoes, as seen before, contain vitamin C. With cooking a part of this precious vitamin is lost but you can take precautions to limit this loss. In fact, vitamin C oxidizes due to an enzyme called ascorbic oxidase, whose action increases with the increase in heat and is maximum between 30 and 60° C. However, once a certain temperature is reached, it is estimated to be above 70° C, this enzyme becomes inactive and vitamin C is saved (Munyaka et al, J Food Sci, 2010). This is why it is better to cook the potatoes, and in general all the vegetables that contain vitamin C, such as broccoli, in covered pots and in already warm water in order to quickly reach the boiling point and make the enzyme inactive.
Potatoes, what is better to avoid
The potato has a great absorbing power, not for nothing it is often added when a preparation is too salty, in fact the potatoes will help to absorb the excess of salt. For the same reason, however, it is better to avoid cooking the potatoes with fish or meat, as the fats removed from these foods would be absorbed by the potato which, as a result, would become a high fat food and will be more indigestible.
Next time we will focus our attention deeper in food combinations with potatoes in order to maximize their relaxing action! Keep on following us!