Are Potatoes a Superfood For Optimal Health?


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You may have heard in the past about potatoes, and how you should steer clear of them. The conventional, low-carb wisdom may say that, but did you know potatoes are one of the most nutritious foods out there? Listen as I chat with Wendy Myers, a holistic health and nutrition coach, about what you're missing out on if you cut potatoes out of your diet, the healthiest potatoes you can eat, and how to make them both nutritious and delicious!

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Are Potatoes a Superfood For Optimal Health?

  1. 1. Are Potatoes a Superfood For Optimal Health? Ameer Rosic ֬Monday April 21 th 2014 Read Full Article Low-carb wisdom says potatoes are bad, but they’re incredibly nutritious! It may be the scourge of low-carb dieters, but the humble spud may hold to key towards Optimal performance. According to scientists. A new study has found that eating a portion of potato twice a day can lower blood pressure. Sounds awesome eh? And the best Part is… Your daily potato intake won’t make you put on weight. In today’s Podcast, Wendy Myers and I discuss are potatoes a superfood and should you include them in your diet?
  2. 2. Transcript (listen to the full podcast here): Ameer: Hey Wendy, how you doing? Wendy: I’m good. How are you? Ameer: I’m good. I’m good. I’m happy that you’re on the show today because you sent me an article, I think it was like a couple of days ago to tell you the truth, and I was reading and the article was titled “Our potatoes are super food.” I’m like, well, number one, I love potatoes. Wendy: Me too. Ameer: Number two, I truly believe potatoes hold a great value for a lot of people and I’m quite interested and fascinated about the topic that we’re talking today. So, what got you interested in researching about potatoes as a super food? Wendy: Well, it’s just a whole… when I got into the whole ancestral paleo movement and decided to kind of focus my website on that, I thought it was interesting how Loren Cordain, the very first book I ever read was The Paleo Diet, said “Don’t eat potatoes. Avoid them like the plague,” and I thought “that’s strange,” since that’s the number one food that people in America eat. It’s the most eaten vegetable. So I tried researching a little bit more and I was really fascinated by how nutritious potatoes are. Because of all the low carb craze going on for the last couple decades, I’ve been avoiding potatoes like the plague. I literally did not touch them for a very long time. So I was really surprised to learn how they really are a super food. There are cultures around the world that the majority of their diet is potatoes. There’s been experiments done where people live on nothing but potatoes for many months. Ameer: Yeah, the Irish. Wendy: Yeah! They are nutritious. Ameer: Okay, so during your research, was there something that you discovered that kind of blew you away like “Holy shit. I never knew that about the potato.” Wendy: Yeah. Well one of them was really that purple potatoes are the most nutritious ones. That’s one thing that I’ve just learned over researching and studying vegetables and things like that the darker a vegetable, the more nutritious it is. The purple potatoes are the most nutritious, I love the Peruvian purple potato. There are blue potatoes, and red potatoes and the sweet potatoes, the orange ones. But even white potatoes are incredibly are incredibly nutritious. Even the most common ones, the Idaho Russet are incredibly nutritious. Ameer: What’s your take on people complaining about potatoes may cause weight gain, like the glycemic index? Wendy: Well, there are two sides to that coin. There are ways around the glycemic issues with potatoes. Different potatoes have different glycemic indexes. The glycemic index of potatoes ranges from 50 to 100 depending on the type, and the white ones tend to have a higher glycemic index, but the colored ones are lower. The way you cook them also affects the glycemic index. Boiling actually produces the lower glycemic index, where frying produces the highest glycemic index, like potatoes chips or French fries. But then if you cook your potatoes and put them in the refrigerator, that produces more resistant starch and can significantly reduce the glycemic index. And so as far as the weight gain issue, yeah, if you
  3. 3. eat just the potato by itself, it will probably raise your blood sugar, but I don’t how many people are doing that. They usually eat potatoes within the context of a meal. In doing that, when you eat a potato with butter on it which the only way it should be eaten, with some grass-fed butter or with some vinegar or with oil, sour cream, what have you, some fats, that lowers the glycemic index. And when you’re eating within the context of meal, you’re usually getting some sort of fats which reduces the glycemic load in your body and reduces how high your blood sugar will raise. But then, on top of that, you have this resistant starch and on the other side of the coin, potatoes have resistant starch in them, and that feeds the good bacteria in your intestines, and when you have healthy gut bacteria, that reduces weight gain or can prevent obesity, what have you. It’s not always that simple. It’s not “Oh, this is high carb. It’s going to cause weight gain.” It’s not always that simple. Ameer: No. It’s never that black and white. Some people have IBS or Crohn’s and may have to stay away from potatoes. Other people, they benefited from it greatly. Wendy: Absolutely. You just have to see if it works for you. Potatoes don’t work for everybody. Ameer: No. I’ll give you example with me. I don’t do well with sweet potatoes ever. Wendy: Oh really? Ameer: Ever, ever. I get bloaty, I get gassy. However, when I have white potatoes, regular white potatoes that I grew up with, I never ate sweet potato, I didn’t know what they were, I feel great to tell you the truth. Wendy: Yeah, yeah. You know, I do well with all of them. I’m a garbage disposal. Ameer: Now, you mentioned earlier, there was a purple potato right from Peru. Wendy: Yeah. Ameer: How many potatoes are out there? Wendy: There are a lot. I’ve heard anywhere from 3000, 4000, 5000 different varieties, and so, there’s a lot of potatoes. There’s a lot more than what we’re exposed to here in northern America. People tend to just eat the white rust potatoes that we have here. Your orange, sweet potatoes, there’s not a big variety. There’s maybe four or five maybe at the grocery store. At the farmer’s market, I usually see about 10 different kinds of potatoes. But in Peru, the birthplace of potatoes, there’s thousands. All kind of crazy potatoes, and they’re really rich, really dark colors, very, very nutrient-dense. There’s even a tribe, the Peruvian Quechua, that have 75% of their diet is potatoes. Ameer: Wow. Wendy: And they’re not exactly dropping like flies from diabetes. They’re healthy, they don’t have disease. Ameer: Are they a lean type of tribe or more or less kind of on the chunkier side? Wendy: I believe they’re lean. Don’t quote me on that, but I believe they’re lean. Ameer: Alright that’s awesome. Now what’s your take on the skin of the potato? Some say peel them, some say keep them on.
  4. 4. Wendy: Well, the reason there’s this big frenzy, if you want to call that, about the skins of the potatoes is they have supponents in them, or they’re also called glycoalkaloids. Loren Cordain makes a big hullabaloo about them, saying “Oh, they cause gut permeability and they cause all kinds of intestinal distress,” but he’s referring to in-vitro studies in a test tube, what’s happening with these molecules in the test tube, but obviously that’s not what’s happening in our digestive tract. What happens in our digestive tract is in studies that shown that supponents and glycoalkaloids just disintegrate in the human digestive tract. So, I don’t really think this whole supponent theory, this fear of supponents and the skin is really valid. Certainly there are some people that are sensitive to them and potentially, they can cause gut permeability, I doubt it. There this two sides to that coin. But also, there’s an issue with, so I’m losing my train of thought here. It’s one of those things where different potatoes have different amounts of supponents in them. Like the snowed-in potato has the highest amount of supponent in the skins, but those are usually used for potato chips which we know we want to avoid anyways. But if you’re really worried about them, you can just peel the potato. But unfortunately most of the nutrients, a lot of the nutrients in a potato are in the skin. I eat the skin for that reason. Ameer: And what’s your take on organic versus non-organic for potatoes? Wendy: Definitely potatoes is part of the dirty dozen of the environmental working group study. Dirty dozen, they’re like little sponges. They definitely absorb the pesticides and other chemicals in the soil, so I wouldn’t touch non-organic potatoes with a 10-foot pole. Ameer: Maybe a 20-foot pole. Wendy: Yeah. Steer clear. Ameer: Now, Dr. Paul Jaminet talks about, he’s the author of the Perfect Health Diet, he talks about recommending that at least you eat about one potato a day. What’s your take on that? Wendy: Yeah. I agree with him. I love Paul Jaminet, I love his book “The Perfect Health Diet,” and it makes perfect sense. He talks about how we should be eating those for fuel, because the starch potatoes breaks down the glucose to give us a real clean pure form of energy, and doesn’t give us any potentially liver-harming fructose, different schools of thought on the fructose ideas. But I think they’re a wonderful source of carbs, of carbohydrates. For me, I can’t do a strict paleo diet or ancestral diet. My mind has to have a lot of fuel to work, so if I don’t eat carbs like potatoes, I will… Ameer: There’s my problem right there. This whole idea of strict paleo, meaning to be low carb, where did this connotation come from? Like there are so many different epigenetic tribal variants of the world. Wendy: Yeah. Well, I can’t really take from Loren Cordain. He was just talking about how… and of course, today, most people are not talking about a strict paleo diet. So for me, I can’t do that. My brain just goes bonkers and I’ll go on a big sugar binge. My body is like “You bitch, you are eating sugar right now.” Because my brain has to have it. Will power overcomes biology. So my body is telling me that I have to eat potatoes or rice. Ameer: That’s your bacteria for maybe something like lacticobacillus or acidophilus, they’re craving the resistant starch inside of the potato. Wendy: Something’s craving it. So I eat potatoes on a regular basis and if I don’t, then I have problems personally. Ameer: How do you make your potatoes?
  5. 5. Wendy: I like to roast them. I definitely like to roast them. Sometimes I do boil them, making certain dishes. I know boiling is not the best. Potatoes are a little bit different. I’d never boil vegetables, but you can boil potatoes and not lose too much nutrition. And I also like to boil them because it does reduce the glycemic index of them. So what I tend to do is I boil them and then I’ll put them in the refrigerator overnight, and then I’ll eat them, because that is lowest glycemic index possible that you can get with potatoes. Ameer: What’s your take on baking them with like coconut oil? Wendy: Oh that’s great! That’s fantastic. Yeah, baking them is amazing. You don’t have as much of a lower glycemic potential with baking them, but they’re still totally fine. I love eating baked potatoes. Ameer: What’s your take on potato powder, because I see like potato flower out there kind of replacing say the traditional wheat flower. Wendy: Yeah. Well, I think that’s great. It’s a great way to avoid gluten. Do whatever you can to avoid gluten is my thoughts on that. But again, it’s just a powdered potato. Is it the most ideal way to eat potatoes, no, but I think potato powder flour is better than almond flour. I think people doing an ancestral diet or avoiding gluten, they get too many nut flours, and that can give them too much omega- 6 fats. I think people have to kind of back off in the omega-6s, with the nut flours. Potato flours could be a good replacement for that. Ameer: I think the paleo world goes nuts for nuts. Wendy: Oh yeah. Way too many nuts. I love nuts but I think people eat way too many. Ameer: And they’re very problematic food for a lot of people, from acetic acids to mold, it’s like one of the top three mold foods out there, and people don’t sprout them properly, they just eat them as is. Wendy: Oh yeah. Yeah for sure. I definitely believe in sprouting the nuts, and I tend to just only eat Macadamian nuts and the walnuts. They’re the highest omega-3, lowest omega-6, so I kind of stick to those for the most part. But what I do with almonds, I eat the sprouted almonds or sprouted almond milk. Ameer: Now are you familiar with John Kiefer, he talks about carb backloading? Wendy: No, I’m not. No. Ameer: See, he has something interesting. I’ve been playing around with him, I had him on my podcast a couple of weeks ago, and after the podcast, I went a little bit deeper into the science of it, and I found a lot of studies that he was talking about is quite intriguing actually, is he found through his studies and obviously those studies are done on diabetics, is that if you limit your carbs, so let’s just take about potatoes right now. If we’re limiting our potatoes throughout the day and actually have it at dinnertime, let’s say 7 o’clock, your body actually has a better environment to absorb now the glucose and the starches from that potato due to like circadian clocks. So it’s quite fascinating though. I think if people want to like kind of biohack a little bit more to a different degree of health, they can try limiting the carbs throughout the day and just having it at night time. Wendy: Yeah. That’s interesting. I have heard you talk about that on your podcast before, because I do listen to your podcast, and that’s a really interesting concept because their traditional status quo is if you eat carbs at night, then that could raise your blood sugar and your cortisol and maybe keep you up.
  6. 6. But I honestly don’t know what is correct, everyone is totally different. I think for many people that sounds like a really interesting concept that I think people need to try out and see what works for them. Ameer: Yeah. I’ve been trying it out for a while and works great with me. I have some clients as well that we’ve been trying out and it doesn’t work. I really, really think it depends on your gut biome, and how you react to it and how your circadian clocks are set. But some people, they report deep sleep and may be due to the potassium and serotonin boost. Others report the opposite as you mentioned, so you’ll have an increase of insulin obviously and an increase of cortisol which will kind of keep you more or less awake. Wendy: Yeah. Everyone is totally different and for me, I tend to either not eat dinner or I eat an early breakfast and a late lunch, and then I kind of fast after that. I tend to be one of those people where a big dinner doesn’t sit well with me, so everybody is different. Ameer: How did you discover that, that dinner doesn’t sit well with you? Wendy: Well, I just found that if I included dinner, if I eat the three meals a day, that I tend to gain weight. If I eat too close to bedtime, I don’t sleep as well for whatever reason. I definitely have some blood sugar things going on where I feel like I can’t eat too close to bedtime or I’ll wake up at the middle of the night. Ameer: And how long has this been going on for? Wendy: It’s something I’ve really never clued into maybe a year or two ago, but it’s surprising that it’s been going on for a while but I didn’t clue into it until like recently. Ameer: That’s fascinating though. So you’re basically just having breakfast and lunch and just completely skipping dinner. Wendy: I mean, I’m just not hungry. I eat a really nutrient dense breakfast, a really nutrient dense late lunch so to speak at 2 or 3 p.m. Of course I could eat another meal, there’s definitely room for another meal, you know what I’m saying, but I’m just not hungry. Sometimes I will have some bone broth, some chicken broth that I make, but I do for the most part try not to eat dinner. I just feel better not doing that, but that’s just me. Some people feel better skipping breakfast and eating lunch and dinner. Ameer: Yeah. It all depends on your biochemistry and what works for you. We’re all individuals right? Wendy: Yeah for sure. Ameer: Now what’s your take on athletes and potatoes? Do you think potatoes are the best carb source for athletes or are there other types of carbs athletes should include? Wendy: I absolutely think, since I’m such an athlete, I know all about carb loading and carbs for athletes. I’m not, I’m a couch potato. But I think that carbohydrates from potatoes are really important source of fuel for athletes, because I’m not the hugest fan of fruits for carbs because I think there’s just a lot of problems with fruits. I think fruits are really high sugar, and the fruits today are grown, are hybridized to have really, really high sugar levels, which are problematic for people, so I just tend to stick to tell people to eat nutrient dense berries, stick to that low sugar nutrient density. But for potatoes, they’re a perfect source of glucose to keep an athlete running. Of course, rice is fine is too. Any kind of non-gluten grain, I’m a big fan of. But I think some people have problems digesting rice so I think potatoes are just some nice pure clean source of fuel.
  7. 7. Ameer: What you mean by rice, are you talking about just general rice or like a wild rice or a specific rice? Wendy: I tend to be a fun of what Paul Jaminet recommends, is the long grain white rice. I think that breaks down, has fewer toxins in it. If you have the bran of the rice, there are some toxins in that. A lot of people don’t have regular digestion so they have a hard time breaking down brown rice, especially if they’re autoimmune, like they can’t digest brown rice. So I’m a big fan of just eating the long grain white rice which has a lower glycemic index than some of the other white rices. Ameer: How would you prepare your long white rice? Wendy: I have a rice cooker, so I just put it in my rice cooker with a pound of butter, and let it cook away. Ameer: Do you presoak your rice? Wendy: I don’t always I should, I know that I should, because you have to soak it overnight with a little bit of apple cider vinegar is ideal, it’s the best way to do it. I don’t always do that. I’m naughty. Ameer: Would you recommend everybody add that butter? What happens if we don’t have access to butter? Say in Canada, it’s kind of hard or I think it may be even illegal, I forget the laws, to get 100% grass-fed butter? Wendy: Really? Ameer: Yeah, yeah. Wendy: Well, you got grass up there right? Ameer: We got plenty of grass but that’s a whole different story. Wendy: Oh no. Well, if you can’t get grass-fed butter, just have it shipped to you illegally from the United States. Ameer: That’s what we’re all about. We’re all about illegal activities. Wendy: Yes, sometimes you go to break the law to get healthy food, that’s the sad fact. Ameer: It’s funny eh. Like it’s easier for me to get drugs than get raw milk. Wendy: Yeah, yeah. I’m very fortunate we’ve got raw milk right down the street, and that’s what I eat. I’m not so tolerant of dairy but I definitely eat raw grass-fed butter on a daily basis. I actually do the bulletproof coffee thing. David Asprey got me addicted to that, so I had that this morning. Ameer: He’s a pusher, isn’t he? He pushes his stuff to people and gets them addicted. Wendy: Yeah. I am addicted to it. I like it, it makes sense to me, the whole brain fuel thing. Grass-fed dairy is wonderful, grass-fed butter is awesome, but if you can’t get that, then you can do the coconut oil or you just make it plain. You don’t have to put any oils or butters in the rice to cook it. Ameer: I’ll tell you what I do. I cook it with bone broth.
  8. 8. Wendy: Oh, that’s a good idea. Ameer: My grandmother used to do that, so I just copied a recipe and it’s presoaked as you mentioned, either way apple cider vinegar the night before and distilled water, or if you get high fresh water, whatever. Then rinse it out the next day a couple of times, and then you literally cook it with pure bone broth. Wendy: Yeah, that’s brilliant. I don’t know why that never occurs to me. I make rice and I make bone broth, but I have some brain fog going on sometimes so I forget to mix the two. Ameer: Brain fog is here everyday. I get it once in a while. It all depends on the situation. Wendy: When I don’t have my potatoes, my bulletproof coffee, I get brain fog. Ameer: That’s it. Do you have any final thoughts when it comes to potatoes? Wendy: Well, I’m just one of those people. Figure out if it works for you. I don’t believe that low carb craze, people have been avoiding potatoes for so long. I’d say, try out some potatoes, search for some different kind of potatoes. Just forget the white potato. Try out some purple Peruvian potatoes. Some blue potatoes. The new potatoes, the little red ones, are very nutrient dense as well. They are so easy to make, just pop them in the oven, and they’re done 30 minutes, maybe an hour, and just try them out and see if they work for you because they’re really I think an important part of people’s diets. Like Paul Jaminet says, he wants people to eat a pound a day of potato. A little bit too many potatoes for me… Ameer: That’s a lot. That’s like three potatoes or something isn’t it? Wendy: That’s a lot of potatoes. But if you’re a very active person, that’s probably a good idea for you. Ameer: If you have to summarize, what would be your number one optimal health tip to tell somebody? Wendy: The number one tip, definitely, I think a healthy diet is a really important. The whole foods, real foods, ancestral-type of diet. You can eat the healthiest diet in the world but you may not achieve the level of health that you seek if your don’t detox your body, and that’s what I’m all about, that’s what my website is really all about, is really focusing in on detoxing your body safely and effectively, because today we’re bombarded with, we have a hundred thousand chemicals in our environment, there’s industrial dumping and pollution, and so we just absorb chemicals and heavy metals in our air, food and water. So I think it’s incredibly important for people to have a life-long detoxification strategy in order to be healthy. Ameer: True that. Wendy, where can people find more information about you? Wendy: Well, find me on I’m also on YouTube. I’ve got a modern paleo cooking show I just started on YouTube @Wendyliveto110, and I’m on Facebook and twitter @IwillLiveto110. I’ve got a podcast on iTunes, the Liveto110 podcast, that’s also on my website that you can find. That’s about it. I’ve got a book coming out soon called the modern paleo survival guide where I talk about how you have to have the right diet and lifestyle and detox, then you’ll survive and live to 110. Ameer: Sweet, sign me up. Wendy: Hey if you want, I’ll do a free hair mineral analysis on you.
  9. 9. Ameer: Yeah. Let’s do it. Let’s set it up. Wendy: Okay, great. Ameer: Cool. Alright Wendy, thank you so much and have a great day. Wendy: Alright, thank you Ameer. Ameer: Bye-bye. Ameer Rosic Ameer Rosic is obsessed with health. A Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Functional Diagnostic Practitioner and Functional Medicine Practitioner, Ameer has spent years empowering himself with knowledge about optimal health, and now his passion is to share that with you! From interviews with top health experts to fitness and nutritional advice and more, Ameer Rosic can help you live a life of optimal health! Discover more at Connect with Ameer: Facebook | Twitter | Google Plus | YouTube | Pinterest