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Potatoes a good source of potassium

WEDNESDAY LIFE
By Vantigita Bosibori | March 4th 2015

When people think of potatoes, they usually have this image that they will make them fat. But the culprit is the fat they are often cooked in, or which is added at the table in the form of butter or cream. Those trying to lose weight should avoid fried potatoes and opt for baked potatoes instead.

Potatoes are a high-carbohydrate food, which contains both protein and fibre. They also supply us with a significant amounts of vitamin C and potassium.

However, their vitamin C content starts to deteriorate as soon as they are harvested. Frying or baking best preserves this water–soluble vitamin.

Roasting uses less fat than frying. Boiling causes the nutrients to leak into the cooking water and mashed potatoes contain the least vitamin C. Chips, though assumed to be 'junk food' and high in kilojoules are also an excellent source of potassium and a good source of vitamin C.

Thin chips contain more fat than thicker ones. Frozen chips also absorb fat readily, while oven chips are relatively low in fat. The fat content of homemade chips can be lowered after frying by blotting them on absorbent kitchen paper.

However, most fast food restaurants in Kenya cook chips so poorly that one wonders whether there are any standards kept in this country.

First, they cut the potatoes and boil them slightly, heap them in plastic basins and once a customer makes an order, they are quickly dipped in oil which is rarely changed nor discarded. When the oil volume reduces, they just top up, making their chips the most un-hygienic and unhealthy. But well-fried chips make for a good vegetarian meal.

Avoid green and sprouted potatoes because they contain alkaloids, called chaconine and solanine, too much of which can be acutely poisonous. A potato which has patches of green on it should be discarded in its entirety. Even when eaten in small amounts, solanine causes migraines or drowsiness in sensitive people.

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