Food and Nutrition: Top 5 Potato Health Benefits

Kerry Torrens nutritionist

photo credit, MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP via Getty Images

what is the potato

The potato (Solanum tuberosum) is a member of the nightshade family, which includes tomatoes and eggplant, and is the plant’s underground energy store (tuber). There is a wide variety of potatoes, but from a culinary perspective, they are generally divided into three categories: flour potatoes, waxy potatoes, and new potatoes.

Mealy potatoes, like the Maris Piper, are filled with a type of starch called amylose. These starch granules puff up and burst as they cook to create a soft, chewy texture, making these potatoes ideal for a soft, creamy mash. Waxy potatoes, like the Charlotte, contain less amylose – which gives cooked potatoes a firmer texture, ideal for roasts and gratins. New potatoes, on the other hand, are unripe potatoes that are picked early in the season; They keep their structure when cooked, making them perfect for potato salads.

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