Maximising nutritional benefits
There are quite a few decisions that you can make in order to maximise the nutritional benefits of potatoes. The list below shows how to make sure potatoes remain a healthy choice.
Cook with the skin on
Some nutrients, particularly phytonutrients, are present in much higher concentrations in or just below the skin. In addition, keeping the skin on can help prevent the loss of some nutrients during cooking.
Avoid chopping potatoes
Leave potatoes whole or cut into as large a piece as possible. Cutting potatoes into small pieces increases the number of cut surfaces that can be oxidised, and there are greater losses of nutrients due to leaching.
Choose baking or microwaving as these methods don’t use water and therefore avoid loss of nutrients by leaching into the cooking water.
Bake as an alternative to frying. Use vegetable oils in place of fats which are solid at room temperature. When roasting potatoes leave the skin on, cook separately from meat and drizzle with oil, or use an oil spray.
Alternatives to salt
Use herbs, garlic, pepper in place of salt. To minimise the amount of sodium in the diet only use a small amount of salt when cooking potatoes.
Choose small potatoes
Small potatoes have more skin relative to flesh. They can be more easily cooked whole which helps retain nutritional components.
Select coloured varieties
These have high levels of phenolics and contain anthocyanins, both of which have antioxidant activity. They also have higher concentrations of some other nutrients such as folate.
Avoid green potatoes
The green is an indicator that glycoalkaloids may be present. Glycoalkaloids are considered toxic, although there is still considerable debate about this. There is some evidence that glycoalkaloids may actually have health benefits. However, until there is more evidence it is best to avoid consuming green potatoes.
Refer to our Potato Nutrition Booklet for more information.