Potato: The Healthy Carb

Klamath Pearls potatoDID you know that a potato contains more potassium than a banana?

I have always thought that bananas are the highest in potassium content, but, as it turns out, one medium potato with skin provides 620 milligrams of potassium. This accounts for 18% of the recommended daily value of potassium and so the potato ranks the highest for foods with potassium. This is quite significant, considering that potassium plays an important role in regulating fluids and mineral balance in body cells and in transmitting nerve impulses or signals to the rest of the body. Potassium also significantly helps lower blood pressure and thus prevents the occurrence of stroke.

US fingerling potatoes

US fingerling potatoes      (Photo courtesy of Potatoes USA)

PACKED WITH NUTRIENTS

More than just being rich in potassium, the potato is packed with a lot of other vitamins, minerals and nutrients—Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, fiber, iron—as well as health-promoting compounds such as carotenoids, flavonoids and caffeic acid, and unique tuber storage proteins such as patatin. The latter helps fight against free radicals that attack the body and cause serious diseases.

All these come together to make the potato a superfood that puts it forward as a healthier alternative to other energy-giving carbohydrates such as rice and bread. To think that a medium-sized potato contains only 110 calories. Add to this the fact that it is actually complex carbohydrates so it gives more pure energy that lasts the whole day. Perfect especially for people who are on a diet and those who lead active lives!

Sports-minded people stand to gain a lot from eating potatoes regularly, particularly US potatoes, which consistently deliver the same quality in terms of taste, texture and nutritional content.

photo 1For one, potassium, which can be found in potato peel, is an important electrolyte that keeps the body properly hydrated and functioning at its optimum. A significant amount of electrolyte is lost when one sweats it out in an athletic activity, such as a basketball game or badminton match. Depletion of electrolyte supply causes cramps, and this is not good, especially when it happens in the middle of an activity.

As for Vitamin C, a medium-sized US potato contains 45% of the water-soluble vitamin, which serves as an antioxidant that keeps harmful free radicals at bay by preventing cellular damage. It helps the body produce collagen, absorb iron, heal wounds and keep a strong immune system. Vitamin C likewise protects the arteries from the damaging effects of cholesterol. So, the combination of regular Vitamin C intake and physical activity is potent in keeping the body—and particularly the heart—strong and healthy.

A potato also comes packed with fiber. A medium-sized US potato with skin provides 2 grams of dietary fiber, in effect accounting for 8% of the daily value per serving. What fiber does is improve blood lipid levels, regulate blood glucose, lower blood cholesterol and keep the body feeling full longer. Now this is another piece of good news for dieters whose goal is definitely to lose weight, hopefully the natural and healthy way.

Also contributing to this end is Vitamin B6, a water-soluble vitamin that aids in carbohydrate and protein metabolism. It helps the body make amino acids necessary to produce various body proteins and is required for the synthesis of hemoglobin, which is an essential component of red blood cells. Vitamin B6 has the power to reduce levels of homocysteine, which, when found in high levels, can damage walls of the blood vessels and lead to heart disease and stroke. The breakdown of glycogen, which is the form in which sugar is stored in muscle cells and in the liver, also relies a lot on Vitamin B6, so it is vital in athletic performance and endurance. One of the easiest ways to acquire Vitamin B6 is eating potatoes on a regular basis, since one medium US potato already provides 10% of the recommended daily value.

What’s more: According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines drawn up by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Department of Health and Human Services, potatoes contain no cholesterol or saturated fat and are low in sodium, so they are good for the heart and for overall health and wellness.

IN DIFFERENT FORMS

While whole fresh potatoes are traditionally used to make different potato preparations, US potatoes give people practical options, as it comes in three forms—fresh, frozen and dehydrated.

US Fresh Petite Potatoes

US Fresh Petite Potatoes

Fresh US potatoes include Russet potatoes, which are big and long and perfect for fries; red potatoes; purple potatoes; and fingerlings, which are small, finger-like potatoes in different colors. Boil them, bake them, mash them, fry them… Anything goes.

US Frozen Potatoes in different shapes (Photo by Rafael R. Zulueta)

US Frozen Potatoes in different shapes    (Photo by Rafael R. Zulueta)

Frozen US potatoes come in different shapes—fries, crinkle cut, skin on, criss-cut or basket weave, half shell, hash-browns, smileys, tater tots. They do not need thawing. Just take them out from the freezer, heat oil and throw them in. They go perfectly with different dips, toppings and wraps. What frozen US potatoes offer is convenience, since they require no mise-en-place or peeling, cutting, chopping or mashing.

Various forms of US Dehydrated Potatoes, from left: Chips, Flakes, Powder and Granules

Various forms of US Dehydrated Potatoes, from left: Chips, Flakes, Powder and Granules        (Photo by Rafael R. Zulueta)

Dehydrated US potatoes are available in different textures of flakes, shreds or powder to fit specific recipe requirements. Very convenient and economical, they need only to be soaked in water to be rehydrated, and the yield of the rehydrated potato mixture is often double.

THE HEALTHY CARB

Fresh, frozen or dehydrated, US potatoes are packed with all the healthy goodness that potatoes give the human body. Readily available and practical, this healthy carb can be made into a wide range of soups, salads, appetizers, viands and desserts.

 

SPICY TUNA POTATO CROQUETTES

Potato croquettes are one of the easiest dishes to make. They are also one of the most versatile, since they can go with almost any ingredient as filling—ham, cheese, bacon, even round hotdogs, ground chicken or ground meat sautéed with garlic, mushrooms, mixed seafood, spinach… If you get a bit more creative, you can even make sweet versions of croquettes. Here’s a US potato croquette recipe that I made with US dehydrated potato flakes, but you can easily make it at home with fresh potatoes or frozen potatoes as well.

The Spicy Tuna Potato Croquettes I made using US Dehydrated Potato Flakes and spicy corned tuna

The Spicy Tuna Potato Croquettes I made using US Dehydrated Potato Flakes and spicy corned tuna

For the filling:
1 small can spicy corned tuna*

For the croquettes:
2 cups US Dehydrated Potato Flakes
1-3/4 cups water
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsps. grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten

To assemble:
all-purpose flour
1-2 eggs, beaten
Japanese breadcrumbs
palm or vegetable oil for deep-frying

1. Make small quenelles of spicy corned tuna, and freeze for 30 minutes to set.
2. In a mixing bowl, hydrate US Dehydrated Potato Flakes in water. Mix until well combined and of mashed potato consistency. Season with salt and pepper, add Parmesan cheese and beaten egg. Mix well.
3. To assemble, scoop a small amount of potato mixture onto your palm. Flatten into an oval shape. Place a frozen quenelle of spicy corned tuna on it. Fold up ends of potato mixture to form into elongated balls. Dredge in flour, dip in beaten egg, and roll in Japanese breadcrumbs.
4. Deep-fry potato croquettes in hot oil until golden brown.
5. Remove and drain off excess oil on paper towel.
6. Serve with sweet chili sauce.

*Note: The US Dehydrated Potato Flakes can be substituted with US Fresh Potatoes or US Frozen Potatoes. Simply boil the fresh potatoes, peel and mash. Use 2 cups. Or finely chop any cut of frozen potatoes and fill 2 cups.

(For more information on US Potatoes, visit the Potatoes USA Philippines Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PotatoesUSAPhilippines/).

Spicy Tuna Potato Croquettes

Spicy Tuna Potato Croquettes… Let’s eat!

Category(s): Appetizers, Health, Recipes
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