Food Focus – Spud-tacular !

Article taken from Psychologies Magazine – February 2019.

Mashed, baked, julienned … what’s not to love about the vitamin-rich potato? Nutrition Editor Eve Kalinik chips in.

From the floury Maris Piper to the velvety Vivaldi, to the perfectly proportioned Jersey Royal and the honourable King Edward, the potato may be deemed humble alongside its fellow veg but, as some of its more noble names indicate, it should be royally celebrated.

You might be surprised to know that potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C, with one medium-sized spud providing around 70 per cent of the recommended daily intake. This helps to support energy, immunity and skin health. And they boast a decent amount of B vitamins and magnesium, too – the nutrients we need for energy, among many other physiological processes. Being one of the richest sources of potassium also makes them a good source of this vital mineral that has myriad functions in the body.

When it comes to gut health, potatoes provide fibre that is important for our gut microbes, as they flourish on a fibrous feast, and it is a healthy and thriving microbiome that we need to support. Try to enjoy your spuds with skins on, as there is a greater fibre content, which gives you more bang for your buck when it comes to the microbiome. Interestingly, when potatoes are cooked and fully cooled – think potato salad – the starch molecules transform into something called resistant starch, which behaves a bit like fibre, in that it resists digestion and finds its way to the microbiome, giving an additional potent ‘feeding’ effect.

There is a plethora of marvellous ways to cook, eat and enjoy your spuds. Personally, I can think of precious little else more delicious than a baked jacket potato with a generous hunk of butter and a sprinkling of sea salt. A roast dinner, particularly at this time of the year, is not complete without the glorious roast spuds that you could argue often steal the show! Just remember, as you tuck into your spud, that it is actually far from lowly and we should feature the potato proudly and respectfully on our plates.


Choose … Maris Pipers are ideal for mash, but you may want to try Jersey Royals for boiling.

Cook … Give Eve’s ‘Punchy potato salad’ a whirl, which is great for some of the leftover spuds from Christmas dinner. Find the recipe in her book Be Good to Your Gut.

Buy – The Malle W Trousseu Box, £50.16 is ideal for the discerning spud cook. It features a brush and stainless-steel peeler and masher.

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