Potatoes are a carbohydrate which should be an integral part to our diets – it is an essential nutrient and provides us with energy. “It’s the only energy source readily available for the brain to use,” dietician Aoife Hearne says, “They are a valued part of a balanced and varied diet. And just like other macronutrients - protein and fat - it is the quality and quantity of all these nutrients that is important.”
The potato holds a strong amount of potassium, a nutrient which serves some important functions, including:
When potatoes are baked, the humble spud is also a fantastic source of thiamin (vitamin B1).
The National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) indicated that potatoes currently make significant contributions to the nation’s average daily intake of many vital nutrients, namely:
There are some additional benefits of including potatoes in your diet including:
Potatoes are considered to be a high fibre food, this is because they contain both types of fibre – soluble and insoluble. Both of these types is beneficial to your overall health – they keep you feeling fuller for longer and contribute to a healthy, regular bowel function. Keep the potato skins intact if you’re looking to get the most fibre out of your potato dishes. When it comes to fibre, keeping hydrated is also key – this allows the nutrient to do its work.
Just to give you an idea, 2 medium-sized spuds with skin on will offer you a third of your recommended daily fibre intake.
Children can gain more iron, vitamin C, B1, B6, potassium and magnesium from the contribution potatoes offer in their diet than foods such as bananas, beetroot, nuts, avocado and broccoli. They can also be very handy when moving children on to solid foods at the age of 6 months – they can be cooked so they are soft in texture and easily digestible as well as being fat-free and salt-free.
Gut health is an increasingly important topic in the nutrition world. Potatoes contribute positively to gut health. A gut is determined healthy by the amount of ‘good’ bacteria present. This ‘good’ bacteria is found in diet rich and fibrous foods like potatoes (and other fruit and veg) and plays an important role in supporting immunity.
Potatoes are often regarded as a high-maintenance food resulting in many resorting to other starchy carb foods such as rice and pasta. The people who avoid the spud is missing out on the vital nutrients found in potatoes.
To give you an idea, a medium jacket potato provides 1/3 of the NRV of vitamin C compared with 180g of easy cook white rice, boiled, or a 220g portion of white spaghetti, which don't contain any.
There are plenty of fantastic potato recipes right here on love potatoes for all the family, which are sure to provide inspiration.
Having a wide variety of foods in the diet is important, as no single food can provide us with all the nutrients we need to stay healthy. Good nutrition is essential for normal growth and development, maintaining health and reducing the risk of developing certain diseases, now and in the future.
Potatoes can be part of your healthful diet plan, especially when eaten with the skin on. They’re a source of fibre and potassium, and are naturally fat free. Indulge guilt-free with these delicious, simple and modern potato recipes featuring important nutrients for a healthy lifestyle.
It means eating some food more often than others, such as fruit and vegetables on a daily basis, but having other things as a weekly treat. Find out more in our 'Eat Well' section.