Food and Nutrition: Top 5 Health Benefits of Potatoes

Kerry Torrens- Nutritionist

Author of the photo, MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP via Getty Images

What is potato?

A member of the nightshade family, which includes tomatoes and eggplants, the potato (Solanum tuberosum) is the plant’s underground energy store (tuber). There is a wide variety of potatoes, but from a culinary standpoint, they generally fall into three categories: flour potatoes, waxy potatoes, and new potatoes.

Floury potatoes, like Maris Piper, are full of a type of starch called amylose. These starch granules swell and burst when cooked to create a soft, chewy texture, making these potatoes ideal for a smooth, creamy mash. Waxy potatoes, like Charlotte, contain less amylose, which gives cooked potatoes a firmer texture, ideal for roasting and gratins. New potatoes, on the other hand, are immature potatoes harvested early in the season; they retain their structure when cooked, making them perfect for potato salads.

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