The goodness of potatoes:
a nutrient-packed staple for your health

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Welcome to the world of potatoes, where this humble vegetable holds a treasure trove of nutritional benefits.

Far from being simple, potatoes are abundant in nutrients, naturally fat-free, and contribute to your daily intake of vitamins and minerals. As per the 11 Food Based Dietary Guidelines (FBDG) of South Africa, starchy foods form the foundation of most meals. When it comes to a one-stop supply of starch, potatoes are hard to beat. Just 100g of boiled fresh potato, with its skin on, provides 354 kilojoules of energy.

When you consume potatoes, the starch they contain is broken down into glucose in your gut, absorbed into your bloodstream, and transported to the liver and body cells. This glucose serves as fuel for your muscles and nervous system, contributing to both physical and mental performance. Not only are potatoes high in chromium, and low in sodium, but they also boast 3g of fibre per serving (potatoes baked with skin). Additionally, they hold the highest amount of potassium among starchy vegetables, providing maximum nutritional value per 100g.

The Nutrition Table

So, you want
to know what’s
in a spud?

Mask Group 9

Potatoes are an ideal food to include in a healthy balanced meal. They are a complex carbohydrate with a nutritional value that surpasses most processed foods; contributing significantly to our daily intake of vitamins and minerals.

Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy and play a crucial role in a healthy diet. Around 40-50% of our daily energy should come from carbohydrates. However, it’s important to choose the right type of carbohydrates for optimal health and blood sugar control.

There are two types of carbohydrates: simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates, found in sugars, are quickly broken down and absorbed into the bloodstream. This causes a rapid rise in blood sugar levels, followed by a sharp increase in insulin levels. As a result, we may initially feel great but experience tiredness and irritability when sugar levels drop again, creating a roller coaster effect on our blood sugar levels.

On the other hand, complex carbohydrates, like those found in potatoes, are made up of many sugars and take longer to break down in the stomach. This means that the sugars are released more slowly into the bloodstream, providing a constant and sustained energy level. Essentially, starchy foods should be the basis of most meals. However, it’s important to make wise choices when selecting your starches. Opt for unprocessed options that are close to their natural form, provide dietary fibre and are rich in key nutrients.

One portion (1 medium potato), provides the following vitamins and minerals:
*cooked with skin on
Vitamin B2 (mg) 0.1 5%
Niacin (mg)** 2.4 15%
Vitamin B6 (mg)** 0.5 29%
Vitamin C (mg) 8.2 8%
Pantothenic acid (mg)** 0.8 17%
Copper (mg) 0.2 27%
Chromium (ug) 15 43%
Iron (mg) 1.8 10%
Magnesium (mg) 39.1 9%
Manganese (mg) 0.3 14%
Phosphorus (mg) 98.9 8%
Potassium (mg) 710 **
Zinc (mg) 1.5 13%

*Nutrient Reference values (NRV’s) for individuals 4 years and older expressed per single serving.
**NO NRV available

Nutritional info

How do potatoes stack up against other starches?

Potatoes, correctly cooked (baked, grilled, air-fried) with their skins on, offer a host of macro and micro-nutritional benefits.
With the highest potassium content per mg amongst their peers, these sensational spuds also serve as a heart-healthy option.
Moreover, when compared to pasta, white rice and white porridge, potatoes boast a remarkably low fat content,
rendering them an ideal partner in maintaining a healthy weight.
In a nutshell, potatoes can be summed up in three words:

Scrumptious. Convenient. Versatile.

PER 100g
(cooked with the skin on)
porridge, soft (white, fortified)
Total fat0.1g0.9g0.5g0.4g
Vitamin C21mg0mg0mg0mg

Potatoes: The underground hidden treasure

For ages, potatoes have served as an important, cost-effective source of energy, nutrition and satiety in the South African diet. As the most prominent vegetable crop in South Africa and one of the world’s most prominent staple foods, potatoes continue to play a vital role in our diets, health and well-being.

Let’s explore the potato fact file:


Potatoes are chromium champions

Exciting news for South Africans! Potatoes in South Africa are high in chromium, a mineral that helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels. As obesity and diabetes rates continue to rise, it becomes crucial to recognise how chromium assists in controlling insulin and food intake.

Our bodies cannot produce chromium naturally, so we must rely on our diet to obtain this essential mineral. Guess what? A medium potato packs a punch by providing a whopping 43% of your daily recommended intake of chromium!

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Potatoes are potassium powerhouses

While bananas are often associated with potassium, potatoes are actually an excellent source of this mineral.

A medium baked potato with skin (180 g) provides 825 mg of potassium, which is almost 20% of the daily recommended intake. This amount is higher than what you would find in bananas, cauliflower, cucumber, tomatoes and green beans.

Potassium is an essential mineral that plays a crucial role in various bodily functions. It helps control fluid balance, regulate blood pressure, transmit nerve impulses and promotes muscle relaxation, including that of the heart. Consuming foods rich in potassium can lower the risk of conditions such as high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, heart failure, diabetes, kidney disease and low bone density.

pot love

We ♥ potatoes

Potatoes are truly a heart-healthy and tummy-satisfying addition to your diet. Packed with essential nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, magnesium, folate, iron, and fibre, potatoes offer a nutrient-dense option at an affordable price. Don’t let any past misconceptions mislead you!

To ease heart disease, it’s crucial to follow a healthy diet. Opt for foods high in fibre, low in added salt, and rich in heart-protective phytonutrients found in colourful vegetables. Guess what? Potatoes have the potential to contribute to all these elements when consumed as part of a balanced diet. Their skin and flesh offer fibre, while cooking them with herbs and a touch of olive or canola oil keeps the salt content low and provides monounsaturated fats. Additionally, potato skins contain plant compounds that actively improve heart health.

Try our heart-healthy recipes

Beyond the index

Potatoes are a nutrient-dense vegetable that has unfairly received a bad reputation in diets and among consumers.

This misconception stems from the Glycaemic Index (GI), which measures the immediate impact of carbohydrates on blood glucose levels. However, understanding the limitations of the GI is crucial, as it does not consider portion sizes. The GI of potatoes varies depending on factors like ripeness, preparation method, variety and testing methodology. In reality, potatoes can have a medium to low GI when cooled, boiled and consumed whole. Toppings like low-fat cheese, tuna or chicken mayo, and lean meats can further enhance the nutritional balance of baked potatoes. It’s important to note that the GI does not correspond to nutrient density, as potatoes are a healthier choice compared to ice cream or chocolate. So go ahead and enjoy a hot potato spud, and if you follow the GI approach, let it cool and pair it with a good fat and lean protein.

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a pregnancy craving superfood

Wondering why?

Let’s explore the top reasons:

Delicious, easy, and convenient:
Nature provides us with whole foods, and potatoes are one of them. Steamed, baked, boiled, or roasted, they offer a delicious unprocessed option that is quick and easy to prepare.

Almost every pregnant woman experiences digestive issues and constipation. Adding dietary fibre to your diet helps decrease constipation and may lower blood pressure. Pregnant women should aim for at least 25 g of fibre per day, and a medium potato provides 3 g.

Folic acid:
Potatoes are a great source of folic acid, which plays a crucial role in reducing the risk of brain and spinal problems in babies. Pregnant women need approximately 400 – 600 ug per day. Potatoes provide 66 ug (16% of the required intake).

Potatoes - being rich in chromium, an essential mineral that regulates blood sugar levels through insulin - can be particularly beneficial for pregnant women seeking to manage blood sugar fluctuations and maintain stable energy levels for their daily activities. In fact, consuming just one medium potato can fulfill about half of the recommended daily intake of 30 ug for pregnant women.

Carbohydrates: Potatoes play a vital role in pregnancy, providing the necessary glucose for the baby’s energy while in the womb. It’s common for pregnant women to experience cravings for carbohydrates, which can be attributed to decreased blood sugar levels. As a convenient and satisfying food choice, potatoes offer a delightful solution, particularly during moments of queasiness. Not only are they delicious, but they also provide the much-needed nourishment expectant mothers seek.

Be sure to discard any green potatoes (even if they are not green all over), don’t eat potatoes that show signs of damage or rotting and carefully remove any sprouts before cooking.

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take gold

Proper fuelling is paramount for achieving marathon success, particularly for endurance athletes who are mindful of avoiding hitting the wall. To optimise muscle glycogen storage and improve endurance performance, carbo-loading plays a crucial role.
Two days prior to the race, the focus should be on increasing glycogen storage. This doesn’t require a boost in overall food volume or kilojoules; rather, it involves substituting fats or proteins with carbohydrates. It’s important to make wise carbohydrate choices, aiming for a daily intake of six to seven grams per kilogram of body weight. It is recommended to spread out carbohydrate consumption throughout the day, with lunch being the primary meal.

When it comes to carbo-loading, potatoes are an exceptional choice as they offer concentrated carbohydrates along with essential nutrients such as potassium and chromium. Remember, race preparation goes beyond last-minute changes; it’s about determination, sweat and a steaming baked potato.

Why Choose Potatoes?

10 Reasons

to Embrace the Spud!

Affordable and Versatile:
A cost-effective staple food that can be enjoyed in various dishes

Energising and Filling:
Provide a satisfying energy boost and promote a feeling of fullness

Plant Protein Source:
Potatoes contain protein, with 1 medium potato providing 4.5 g

Keeping the skin on adds more fibre, benefiting gut health and promoting satiety

Potassium Packed:
Potatoes are rich in potassium, aiding in blood pressure regulation

Vitamin C Boost:
Potatoes contribute to vitamin C intake, supporting various bodily functions

Naturally Low in Sodium:
Have a high potassium-to-sodium ratio, beneficial for blood pressure

Packed with
Vitamins & Minerals:

Offer a range of nutrients like B6, niacin and folate, along with minerals like iron and calcium

Micronutrient Dynamo:
Are nutrient-dense, providing a variety of essential vitamins and minerals

Phytonutrient Bonus
Potatoes contain natural compounds that promote health and reduce disease risk

Enjoy the goodness of potatoes in your meals and reap the nutritional rewards!

Pass the Potato


We understand that scientific jargon can sometimes be confusing, so we’ve put together a handy glossary of health-related terms to help you navigate the world of potatoes and nutrition.
Here are some key terms simplified just for you:

  • Monounsaturated fats: Heart-healthy fats found in olive oil, avocados, canola oil, and certain nuts.
  • Vitamin C: Essential vitamin found in strawberries, guavas, pawpaw, bell peppers, and kiwi fruit. Important for tissue repair.
  • Vitamin B6: Group of compounds found in chicken, fish, oats, bananas, and peanuts. Supports various bodily functions.
  • Potassium: Important mineral for fluid balance, muscle contractions, and nerve signals.
  • Magnesium: Essential mineral used in muscle function, nerve function, protein synthesis, and the production of bone and DNA.
  • Folate: B-vitamin found in green leafy vegetables, nuts, and beans. Necessary for DNA and genetic material production.
  • Iron: Mineral that carries oxygen in red blood cells for proper bodily function.
  • Fibre: Indigestible part of plant foods that adds bulk and aids in digestion.
  • Cholesterol: A type of fat that, when excessive, can contribute to heart disease risk.
  • Cardiovascular diseases: Conditions related to heart disorders, including high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, and heart failure.
  • Phytonutrients: Plant compounds that protect cells from damage and reduce the risk of diseases like cancer and heart disease.