White Potatoes and Potassium, Good News and Recipes
White potatoes don’t get a lot of news coverage despite the fact they are the main ingredient of an American favorite—French fries. One reason the spotlight should be on potatoes is their high content of potassium, a mineral sorely lacking in the diet of most Americans.
White potatoes, stand up and be noticed
Many people associate potassium with bananas, and while it’s true this fruit is a great source of potassium, you may be surprised to learn that calorie for calorie, white potatoes provide about 1.5 times the amount of the important mineral. At the recent Experimental Biology 2013 Annual Meeting, results of a study presented by Maureen Storey, PhD, president and CEO of the Alliance for Potato Research and Education (APRE), explained the nutritional value of white potatoes and potassium.
Based on an analysis of data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2009-2010, Storey’s team found that people of all ages don’t consume enough potassium. That fact is understandable given that most people also don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables, and these foods are especially rich sources of the mineral.
The adequate intake (AI) levels recommended by the Institute of Medicine range from 400 mg for newborns up to 4,700 mg for both males and females ages 14 years and older. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 2 cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of vegetables daily (9 servings) based on a 2,000-calorie diet.
What’s so important about potassium? One major benefit is its role is lowering and maintaining a healthy blood pressure. Since the vast majority of adults will experience high blood pressure during their lifetime, this is a critical function of the mineral.
Potassium also plays an essential role in bone health and prevention of osteoporosis, reducing the risk of stroke, and helping ward off kidney stones.
In addition to the estimated 738 mg of potassium provided by one small, plain baked potato with skin, you also get the following nutrients: 3 g fiber, 22% Daily Value (DV) vitamin C, 21% DV vitamin B6, 15% DV manganese, 10% DV phosphorus and magnesium, and all with zero fat or cholesterol. Without the skin, the potassium content drops to a still respectable 477 mg.
White potato recipes
These two recipes attempt to optimize nutritional value and taste while remaining easy to prepare using fresh white potatoes.
- 3 medium white potatoes (new or “thin-skinned”)
- 1 medium carrot
- ½ cup nonfat soy beverage, nonfat milk, or vegetable broth (low sodium)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tbs minced red onion
- Salt and black pepper to taste
Scrub the potatoes well, remove any eyes (but keep the skins on), and cut into about 2-inch chunks. Scrub the carrot and cut into quarters. Boil the potatoes and carrot until tender. Cool and then mash using a hand mixer or food mill. Blend in the soy beverage, milk, or broth, garlic, and onion. Season to taste. Adjust the amount of liquid to get the consistency you desire. Serves 3-4
Baked Tangy Fries
- 4 russet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into ¼-inch thick fries
- 3 Tbs olive oil
- 2 Tbs lemon juice
- 2 Tbs brown mustard
- 1 Tbs ketchup
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbs crushed dried rosemary
- ½ tsp black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine all the seasonings and add the cut potatoes. Stir until all the pieces are evenly coated. Place the fries in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Turn the fries over and bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Serves 4
Alliance for Potato Research and Education news release