Wednesday, May 16, 2012

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Healthy Food Tip
Are colored potatoes healthier than white potatoes?

The differences in color between varieties of potatoes are basically differences in carotenoid and flavonoid content. Virtually all types of potatoes provide significant amounts of approximately seven to ten nutrients. While Americans are accustomed to potatoes with a white inside, potatoes in other parts of the world more commonly have starchy yellow insides. In the U.S. we call potatoes with yellow insides "specialty potatoes." However, worldwide they are the norm rather than the exception.

All colorful potatoes provide carotenoids (and some also provide flavonoids) that white potatoes do not. Carotenoids and flavonoids are pigments, and according to nutritional research, they provide us with many health benefits, including cancer protection. For example, the darker the starchy yellow flesh of a yellow potato, the greater quantity of carotenoids, including beta-carotene (and, in some cases, lutein) that is present. The blue in blue potatoes comes from their flavonoid content. Both the flavonoids found in blue potatoes and the carotenoids found in yellow potatoes help promote good health!
Some carotenoid- and flavonoid-rich potatoes currently available in different regions of the U.S. include: Yukon Gold (currently the best-selling yellow potato in the U.S. marketplace), Michigold, Donna, All Blue (also called "Purple Marker"), Purple Viking, Saginaw Gold, Red Gold, Rose Gold, and Ruby Crescent.
The presence of carotenoids and flavonoids, however, does not affect the carbohydrate content of potatoes. Potatoes all contain about one gram of carbohydrate for every four calories—they're basically all-carbohydrate when it comes to calorie content.
Technically, you'll get more fiber and minerals per bite from smaller potatoes of any kind, since they have more surface area (skin) per amount of starchy inside (total volume). The three to seven grams of fiber contained in a medium-sized potato are mostly in the skin, so consider enjoying it as well as the potato's insides the next time you cook some spuds. Of course, unless your potato is an organically grown one, you'll be getting most of the pesticide residue here—in the skin—as well, which is one of the reasons I am a big advocate for purchasing potatoes (and other foods) that are organically grown. Although there are some differences among potatoes, if you are seriously looking to lower carbohydrate intake, you need to switch to a different category of vegetable, like the leafy green vegetables.
If you have any questions about today's Healthy Food Tip Ask George Your Question

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