Potatoes – the kitchen heroes

“What I say is that, if a man really likes potatoes, he must be a pretty decent sort of fellow.”

― A.A. Milne

I have had the humble potato on my mind since I attended a study day a couple of months ago and learnt that potatoes are high in potassium, which is good news for most of the population, but not so good if you happen to suffer from chronic kidney disease (CKD).

Dietitians recommend special diets for CKD sufferers depending on the severity of their condition and this can include recommendations to adjust their diet for protein, potassium, phosphate and sodium. If the level of potassium becomes too high in a person suffering from CKD, it can cause the heart to stop suddenly. As a precaution renal dietitians advise their patients not to eat potato crisps and to reduce their consumption of potatoes and potassium salt substitutes.

The unintended consequence of this is that convenience food then becomes difficult to navigate as many dishes already have a significant amount of salt which is one of the minerals CKD patients have to avoid and if the dishes also contain potato then it’s off the ‘approved’ list.

Cooking from scratch is an option but the potatoes need to be rinsed, boiled for longer to leach out the potassium and the water drained off which has an impact of the vitamin C level.

Potatoes are a source of vitamin B6, vitamin B1, vitamin C, fibre and folate as well as potassium so when eaten at reasonable quantities they contribute to a healthy diet.

So the majority of us can keep eating this great food source but spare a thought for those who aren’t able to enjoy extra roast potatoes with Sunday lunch or a add a side of fries to go with a lunchtime wrap.

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