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Versatility of potatoes

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Potatoes are one of the popular vegetables abundant throughout the year.

According to Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), a potato has approximately the same energy value as bread, but it is a far better balanced food than it. Potatoes are rich in complex carbohydrates which supply energy. One serving of boiled potato, about 100 grams (g) edible portion, has about 62 calories, 1.7 g protein, 34 milligrams (mg) calcium, 44 mg phosphorus and 24 mg vitamin C. Since potatoes are starchy foods, they put less work on the kidneys. That same potato has about 5 grams of fiber, which is important for a healthy digestive tract.

The FNRI also said, potatoes contain more potassium than any other fresh vegetable, even more than bananas. One potato (100 g) has almost 900 mg of potassium, which is about 20 percent of what we need every day. Potassium is important for body growth and cell maintenance. It is also an electrolyte that helps balance the fluids in the body, which is important for normal blood pressure.
Potatoes also contain substantial amounts of vitamins C and B6, which are vital for blood clotting, wound healing, strong immune system, normal nervous system function and for converting food to energy.

With this, the institute advised that when selecting potatoes, make sure they are smooth, shallow-¬eyed, and reasonably unblemished. They also said to avoid extra large potatoes, as it may have a hollow or pithy centers. Potatoes with a slightly green color are sunburned and may have developed a bitter taste. When choosing potatoes, be sure they are firm and smooth. Softness, a green tinge, or wrinkly skin may indicate a potato that is past its prime.

After this, store potatoes in a cool and dry place. Sunlight causes the skin to turn green. If this occurs, the skin must be peeled off before consuming because of its bitter taste. Most of the nutrients are contained right below the skin, so avoid peeling when possible.
FNRI also said that before cooking potatoes, they should be thoroughly washed with clean tap water and scrubbed lightly. Any sprouts or eyes growing from the potato should be cut. The skin can be removed or left on depending on use but consuming baked and grilled potatoes with the skin left on provides the most nutrients.

For more information on food and nutrition, contact: Dr. Mario V. Capanzana, Director, Food and Nutrition Research Institute, Department of Science and Technology, General Santos Avenue, Bicutan, Taguig City; Tel/Fax Num: 8372934 and 8373164; email: mvc@fnri.dost.gov.ph, mar_v_c@yahoo.com; FNRI-DOST website: http://www.fnri.dost.gov.ph.(NCLM/PIA-Caraga/FNRI-DOST S & T Media Service)




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