I recently wrote about transforming potatoes from a high-glycemic food into a more moderate and insulin-friendly food (see Falling Back In Love With Potatoes), which led to a conversation with a friend about edible skins, rinds and peels. I confess I rarely think about eating the skin of a potato, and frequently forego it altogether. It seems I’ve been missing out.
Aside from their starchy-reputation, potatoes contain an abundance of nutrients that do the body good, such as Vitamins B and C, calcium, potassium, and iron. Peel off the skin, however, and you can lose up to half of these; ounce for ounce, the skin contains more nutrients than the rest of the potato. 50% of the total antioxidant content, responsible for providing the majority of anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits, are found in the skin, along with the bulk of the fiber that is essential to slow down the digestion of starch and sugar. T
If you don’t have time to prep and chill overnight, the fiber from the skin is even more crucial to your digestive happiness; this is also true if you are preparing a dish that calls for peeled potatoes, such as gratin or mashed potatoes.
A side note on preparation: Potatoes should always be washed thoroughly, as they are one of the crops most heavily-sprayed with pesticides and other chemicals; in fact, they show up on the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” list year after year. Some of the treatments applied can permeate the potato itself- scrubbing removes only 25% of these additions, and peeling only 70%. If you are concerned about exposure to pesticides and want to enjoy the skin’s many healthy attributes (or simply a baked potato), buying Organic is the best option.
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