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Eating potato skins is healthier than peeling them off

By Vision Reporter

Added 29th May 2013 10:35 PM

Did you know that the skin of the Irish potato is nutritious? It is true; the potato skins you peel off contain nutrients below it and are useful in preserving nutrients that would otherwise be stripped when potatoes are cooked.

Did you know that the skin of the Irish potato is nutritious? It is true; the potato skins you peel off contain nutrients below it and are useful in preserving nutrients that would otherwise be stripped when potatoes are cooked.

By Shamilla Kara
 
Did you know that the skin of the Irish potato is nutritious? It is true; the potato skins you peel off contain nutrients below it and are useful in preserving nutrients that would otherwise be stripped when potatoes are cooked. Potato peels protect the nutrients contained in potatoes from escaping.
 
“The potato skins prevent loss of nutrients in potatoes,” says Vivian Namboze, a nutritionist at Nutri Dietetic Centre.
 
In reiteration, Jamiru Mpiima, a nutritionist at Family Nutritionist Uganda, says that that leaving potato skins on a potato prevents leaching of nutrients found within the food. “Especially if the potatoes are going to be boiled as the nutrients lie just beneath the potato,” he adds.
 
Rich in fibre
Since Irish potato skins are rich in fibre, they are beneficial in facilitating digestion.
“Potato skins add dietary fibre to the potato which aid in constipation, colon cancer and weight loss,” says Mpiima.
 
Rich in antioxidants
 “The potato peel especially the ones with red colour, contain anthocyanine, a phytonutrient and vitamin A, an antioxidant,” says Barole. Phytonutrients are a natural source of antioxidants that help to prevent cellular deterioration of the body.
 
Rich in nutrients that prevent disease
Potato skins have also been associated with reducing the risk of colon cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
 
Mpiima says since potatoes and their skins are known to have alot of potassium, they are good for the well-functioning of the heart and muscles.
 
“You are able to get a high percentage of Vitamin C from the potato skins as well,” he says.
 
“Potatoes and their skins have proteins richer than other potatoes,” says Barole. The protein contained in potato skins which is known as patatin, can help in reducing blood pressure and shield the heart against possible disease, according to “Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine”.
 
Potato skins also contain Vitamins B6, calcium, magnesium, copper, carbohydrates, iron, folate, manganese and zinc.
 
Potato skins do not have fat
 
Potato skins also contain no fat and cholesterol making them an ideal food for people trying to lose weight.
 
Cooking methods to preserve nutrients
Mpiima advises that for one to get the full nutritional benefits of the potato peels, cooking methods to retain nutrients should include steaming, pressure cooking and microwaving.
 
“Potatoes should not be cooked for long because a high percentage of vitamin C is being degraded by the heat,” says Mpiima.
 
“Like other vegetables, it should not be cooked in alot of water or all the nutrients will be lost,” he says, adding that even if water is used, it should not be discarded but instead can be used in soups, sauces and even juices.
 
“There is always some percentage of nutrients, particularly minerals and vitamins that can be found in the water,” Mpiima advises.
 
Potato skins not good for infants
Eating potato skins is not advisable for children who are in the weaning stage upto one year of age. 
 
Mpiima recommends that the skin of the potato be removed once it has been cooked because children cannot process the dietary fibre that comes in them.
 
Not all varieties are nutritious
Mpiima warns that not all varieties of Irish potatoes are nutritious.
“Those with green skins contain a high percentage of antinutrients, which are chemicals in foods that hinder digestion and absorption of certain nutrients,” he says.
 
It is advisable to peel off the skin after cooking such varieties of potatoes.

Eating potato skins is healthier than peeling them off

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