The potato can play a major role in ensuring a healthy, balanced diet for adults and children, according to research by the Potato Council.
Eating more potatoes can ensure that you get higher intakes of potassium, iodine, folate, vitamin A and vitamin B6 as opposed to eating more rice and pasta.
The results showed average intakes of potassium, iodine, folate and vitamin B6 were more than 10 per cent higher in adults and average intakes of potassium, folate, vitamin A and vitamin B6 were more than 6 per cent higher in children who regularly consume more potatoes rather than alternative carbohydrates such as pasta or rice.
Sigrid Gibson, Registered Nutritionist says: “Potassium intakes in particular are very low in the current British diet. The NDNS data showed that more than 21 per cent of adults and 15 per cent of children who eat more pasta and rice, had potassium intakes that are inadequate (i.e below the Lower Reference Nutrient Intake). This risk of an inadequate intake was much lower among those who prefer potatoes, which are a richer source of potassium than pasta or rice."
Lately there has also been some concern about potential deficiency of iodine in the UK, especially among women. Iodine is an essential mineral which plays an important role in normal thyroid function and metabolism. Therefore, women will be interested to know that the NDNS data also showed iodine intakes were on average 17 per cent higher in adults eating more potatoes than pasta or rice.
Sian Porter Consultant Dietitian to Potato Council says: “Healthy-choice starchy carbohydrates are a key part of a healthy, balanced diet. Potatoes with skins, wholegrain pasta and brown rice are all great examples, but potatoes are more nutrient dense. For example, a 175g portion of boiled new potatoes in their skin contain 38 per cent of your RDA for potassium, an important nutrient which helps maintain normal blood pressure and muscle function. In comparison, a medium (220g) portion of wholegrain spaghetti contains just 15 per cent of your RDA for potassium and a medium (180g) portion of cooked brown rice provides just 8 per cent of your RDA for potassium.”
Porter continues: “Potatoes can be viewed as unnecessary carbohydrates amongst dieters, yet potatoes are naturally fat free and have a low energy density (0.7 calories per gram). In comparison to rice and pasta, a medium (175g) portion of new potatoes boiled in their skins contains fewer calories (116kcal) than a medium (180g) portion of cooked brown rice (200kcal) or a medium (220g) portion of wholegrain pasta (261kcal). Therefore, not only should mums rest assured that potatoes are a great option for the whole family, they should also know that an appropriate portion of potatoes, suitably prepared, are a perfect option as part of a calorie appropriate, healthy diet, especially if you are watching your weight.”