While we’ve written many words about nutrition and the foods we eat, we have yet to fully detail what we believe to be the perfect food.
Men love this topic because, for once, we’re not being told to eat a tasteless, far-from-filling salad.
Nope, the perfect food… the best healthy food to eat… is the lowly potato.
Andrew Taylor recently made waves in the nutrition world when he vowed to eat only potatoes for a year.
The carb-counting crowd thought the 36-year-old Australian was nuts.
But it turns out he knew what he was doing.
“I feel amazing. Everything is going real well,” Taylor said four months into his diet. “I’ve got a lot of energy. I’m sleeping better. I’ve lost a lot of weight.”
Those are big words for a man fighting a self-described food addiction.
And don’t think Taylor was sacrificing taste to find health and lose dozens of pounds. He topped many of his helpings – which included mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes – with barbecue sauce, herbs and other sensible flavorings.
He even drank a few beers while on the diet.
There’s no doubt potatoes have gotten a bad rap over the last decade. It’s mainly their carbohydrate content that’s to blame.
But researchers are eager to tell us there’s much more to a spud than its carb count.
For example, we’ve all heard that bananas are a go-to source of potassium – an important vitamin that’s typically quite low in the average American’s diet. But you’d have to eat four bananas to get the same amount of potassium you’d find in just one potato.
It’s the same thing with fiber…
Move over, prunes and nuts. A typical potato contains 7 grams of fiber. That’s more than a couple of slices of bread.
But it doesn’t stop there.
Potatoes contain at least some of every vital nutrient… things like iron, copper, manganese, vitamin C and several critical forms of vitamin B.
In other words, if our body needs it, it’s in a potato – good news for Taylor.
And, for dieters, potatoes have another trick up their sleeve. They tend to leave us fuller, faster.
The so-called “satiety value” of a potato is off the charts. It’s higher than any other food that’s been tested. So if you don’t feel full after eating a salad, scrape the lettuce off your plate and replace it with a potato.
And here’s another little-known fact… a bit of Manward myth-busting, if you will…
Lots of folks believe sweet potatoes are healthier than a typical white potato.
With one little exception, it’s not true.
The main difference is that sweet potatoes are a bit lower on the glycemic index. That means they release their carbs into our bloodstream at a slower pace, resulting in a lower spike in blood sugar than we’d get from a typical potato.
Other than that, there isn’t a whole lot of difference between the varieties.
So when folks ask us what’s the best healthy food to eat… we say it’s the humble white potato.
Of course, how we cook our potatoes matters. As with anything, a bit of common sense must prevail.
Frying potatoes in a bath of high-fat oil is a lousy idea. Instead, bake or roast them with the skins on. And don’t smother them in butter or other not-so-healthy toppings. Toss on a bit of garlic or just a dash of salt to spice them up.
And perhaps one of the very best aspects of potatoes is they make an excellent survival food. It’s why we always have a bucket of potatoes in the pantry… with many more in the ground.
If the need should come, we’d survive just fine on the odd-looking tubers. We might, like Taylor has, even find ourselves in better shape.
We’d rather not eat the perfect food for every meal of every day, but it’s nice to know we could.