Potato power

Potatoes may seem like a fairly laconic lot even when it comes to vegetables. Yet potatoes too can become stressed and when they do they become even more healthy as a food.

There are more than 5500 varieties of potato and every year around 320 million tonnes of the ubiquitous vegetable are grown. The average potato has about 600mg of potassium which is around the same amount as a banana. It also contains more iron and vitamin C than half a cup of spinach. Unfortunately, there are also a heap of carbohydrates in your potato and depending on the way it is cooked it can have a high glycaemic index. Baked, fried and mashed potatoes may be yummy but they are also high GI.

What the new research has found is that if you stress out a potato, then you significantly boost its antioxidant content.

The researchers subjected the potatoes to two types of “stress”. The first was an ultrasound treatment wherein whole potatoes were immersed in water and then exposed to ultrasound for five to ten minutes. The second stress was to soak the potatoes in salt solution and then expose them to a small electrical charge for ten, twenty, and 30 minutes.

The results showed that the stresses increased antioxidants in the potatoes by between twenty and 60 per cent. The researchers say that “stressing” potatoes in a more viable way could have application in making them a more functional food.

Exactly what the researchers had against potatoes to stimulate such research remains unclear. However, if you want to try and boost your antioxidant intake from your potatoes and you don’t fancy employing ultrasound or an electric shock, you might want to try some verbal sparring to get under the skin of your spud. Something along the lines of, “Ahhhh, you’re nothin’ but a dirty root crop!” should get its polyphenols rising.

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The WellBeing Team

The WellBeing Team

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