Gloriously Good Grounding Potatoes
Potatoes represent the epitome of a grounding vegetable; often purchased in shops with the remainders of the course earthly goodness on their outer skin. Some like then sweet, some like them red and some like them white - what's certain is there a variety for every mood, every occasion and every person. Whats wonderful is that they offer many great benefits for your microbiome!
There is a whole lot more that you can do with a potato beyond it being made into fries and I appreciate it is traditionally thought of as a winter vegetable but there are so many ways to enjoy them in the summer. Baked in tin foil on a barbecue and boiled and tossed into a summer salad and given their nutritional content, it would be crazy to miss out on this healthy carbohydrate source. Don't allow carbohydrate shunning to prevent you from missing out on this wonderful macronutrient - they have their place in your diet for both your gut health and as a source of energy for your brain. Just make sure it is a healthy choices, is a suitable portion size and consumed at the correct time.
Research into potatoes and their impact on gut health
Potatoes are a wholesome and unprocessed carbohydrate source and they have been researched to have a specific impact on your microbiome. They are a resistant starch which means that they cannot be digested by amylase, which is used to break down carbohydrates. Therefore they are not fully broken down in your stomach and small intestine and they pass onto the large intestine where they are able to be fermented.
They are a source of fibre, which is very important for your gut health, feeding the mucus layer in your large intestine, adding hydration to your gut (all fruits and vegetables have different varieties of naturally occurring water) and they help to move food along your gut, aiding peristalsis. Fibre also helps to bulk out your meals, keeping you fuller for longer and they generally add great flavour, a little crunch, some welcomed colour to your plate and variety to your palate.
Resistant starches are a good source of pre-biotic foods, which feed the good bacteria in your gut. They increase the growth of short chain fatty acids, which helps you to feel more satisfied. Remembering that the more good bacteria you have in your gut the more these will flourish, grow and multiply, there is a symbiotic teamwork which occurs between the bacteria in the gut and the more good bacteria you have the better.
For those who eat red meat - resistant starch counterbalances the impact of red meat on your gut health by reducing the pro-mutagenic products caused by red meat fermentation in the bowel.
Some other sources of resistant starches include: green bananas, peas, cooked legumes & cooked and cooled rice and potatoes.
Baxter NT, Schmidt AW, Venkataraman A, et al. Dynamics of human gut microbiota and short-chain fatty acids in response to dietary interventions with three fermentable fibers. mBio. 2019; 10(1):e02566-18. doi: 10.1128/mBio.02566-18.
Green with envy potato salad recipe
Think soft melt in the mouth white potato and crunchy leafy greens with zucchini.
Ingredients: white potato, red onion, zucchini, avocado, pumpkin seeds, lettuce, freshly chopped dill, olive oil and nutritional yeast.