5 Potatoes to Try Now
These lesser-known varieties are rich in phytonutrients.
While health-minded eaters may think of potatoes as little more than carb and calorie bombs, athletes can benefit from simply cooked spuds. One medium potato (the standard white kind) provides more potassium than a banana and about 45 percent of your daily vitamin C requirement, says Keri Glassman, R.D., a New York City-based nutritionist. Similar to other foods such as apples, not all varieties are created equal, and some types provide more phytonutrients than others. “Instead of white flesh, colored ones have even more compounds that act as antioxidants and give the potatoes anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, and anti-inflammatory properties,” notes Glassman.
Here, five types to try this season.
“These potatoes are rich in anthocyanins, pigments that create blue or purple hues help you to fight oxidative damage and inflammatory stress,” says Glassman. Anthocyanins are also known cancer-fighting and brain-protecting phytonutrients and Andirondack Blues could have as much as 250 to 300 percent more antioxidants than white-fleshed potatoes, she adds. Try roasting them as a side dish or use them in healthier takes on latkes.
Also known as Purple Sun, this purple-skinned, yellow-flesh variety was created by cross-breeding wild yellow potatoes with cultivated potatoes. In addition to containing anthocyanins, this type provides about 15 percent more carotenoids than regular Yukon Golds, including lutein and zeaxanthin, which have been linked to lower risk of chronic eye diseases, including age-related macular degeneration and cataracts, notes Glassman. They have an earthy flavor (with hints of hazelnut) and are a great all-purpose staple whether roasted, boiled, or baked.
With a golden hue, “these potatoes provide more carotenoids than white ones and have anti-inflammatory and immune system benefits,” says Glassman. The tender flesh has a flaky texture that lends itself to a smooth and creamy preparation when mashed. They are also great for soups.
These potatoes have very dark purple skin (thanks to the anthocyanins) and the same color flesh that doesn’t fade when cooked. In addition to the high levels of antioxidants, previous studies show that purple-hued potatoes can help maintain healthy blood pressure levels. They are best roasted, baked, in soups, and mixed into potato salads.
This heirloom varietal has pink skin and yellow flesh. It’s an excellent source of vitamin B6 and Glassman points out that much of the fiber and many of the nutrients are in the skin. Smaller potatoes such as these have a higher skin to flesh ratio and thus more fiber per serving. These potatoes are best roasted and eaten with the skin on. Try them with sous vide tuna or roast chicken.