Joco Diversions

April 9, 2013

Don’t turn your back on the lowly spud

A potato the size of a computer also supplies 45 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin C

Potatoes are one of those aha! vegetables.

Asked to name a fruit or vegetable high in potassium, most people instinctively choose the banana. But a baked potato has 610 milligrams per serving vs. 422 milligrams for a medium banana.

The government recently upped the recommended daily intake of potassium for adults from 3,500 to 4,700 milligrams, because a diet low in potassium and high in sodium is a major contributor to high blood pressure and stroke.

Another aha! moment? A potato the size of a computer mouse also supplies 45 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin C.

Although potato sales plummeted during the Atkins diet craze, the tubers are loaded with positive attributes: They’re low in calories, high in minerals, and a good source of complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, iron, niacin and vitamin B6.

Economical and easy to prepare, the only downside is it’s tempting to serve them with fatty and caloric toppings.

To make these add-ons count toward your nutritional goals, choose wisely. The Star’s Ham and Vegetable Stuffed Potatoes are loaded with vegetables, including spinach, broccoli, mushrooms and onions, and a bit of lean protein.

Of course, one question remains: Do you have to eat the skin to get the health benefits? It’s your call, but the skin is rich in fiber and iron, as well as caffeic and ferulic acids, both phytochemicals that may help destroy harmful carcinogens in the body.

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