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When I was little, the word on the street was that potatoes weren’t healthy. Nor was white rice. They didn’t know about resistant starch. Of course, potatoes are healthy either way — full of Vitamin C, B6, manganese, folate, iron, phosphorus, potassium, niacin and pantothenic acid, not to mention phytonutrients. This Paleo and Whole30 Smashed Potatoes recipe gives you all that goodness in the form of a comfort food side dish.
In regard to resistant starch, potatoes aren’t born with it. It’s a matter of nurture. You have to coax it out. If you just take a potato and eat it, sorry: no resistant starch in that tater’s nature.
Prebiotics and Resistant Starch
What is resistant starch anyway?
Resistant starch is one variety of prebiotic food.
What are prebiotics? Prebiotics are food for probiotics.
Here’s how it works:
- When our good gut flora consume prebiotic foods they produce butyrate.
- Butyrate is a short chain fatty acid that is, in turn, consumed by T cells.
- T cells are suuuper important in our bodies. They fight inflammation, prevent autoimmune diseases and cancer, and even fend off antigens* and pathogens. (*Antigens are substances that prompt your body to have an immune response by producing antibodies. T cells can distinguish between different kinds of antigens and prevent an autoimmune response.)
When you eat lots of prebiotic foods, like foods that contain resistant starch, you are in essence creating an army of T cells to help keep you well. Our bodies produce fewer T cells as we age; so it’s a good idea to promote their proliferation.
The form of resistant starch that potatoes have the potential to yield must be created by first cooking them, and then cooling them. This kind of resistant starch is called RS3, or retrograded. Once cooled, RS3 containing foods can indeed be reheated.
Smashed Potatoes’ Resistant Starch
This Smashed Potatoes recipe takes RS3 into account. We cook and cool the whole potatoes. Then we smash and bake them, making them cozy on the inside, crusty on the outside, and full of prebiotics.
This health food method is also convenient. The potatoes can be boiled ahead of time, say on a weekend or when you have time home, then popped into the fridge until you’re ready to quickly smash and bake them.
They’re a slow food version of fast food potatoes, and more delicious.
By the way, if you can get your hands on purple heirloom potatoes, they have the highest levels of nutrition and resistant starch, once cooked and cooled.
I give you Smashed Potatoes with Resistant Starch … to your health!
- Place potatoes in large pot. Cover with water by 1". Boil slowly until fork tender. Drain and cool potatoes. Refrigerate them overnight or for several hours.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. With the back of an offset spatula smash each potato and place into a greased cast iron skillet or onto a greased cookie sheet. Drizzle generously with avocado oil and sprinkle with sea salt. (Use your fingers to rub the top of each potato with the oil.)
- Bake 15 minutes, then flip each potato and bake 15 additional minutes. Serve.
The potatoes are GAPS-friendly for those phasing off. New potatoes are the first food recommended by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride when phasing off the diet, to challenge and see how one does, a very gentle starch.
The potatoes are Paleo because the foremost Paleo thinkers are advocates for smart carbs, smart starches, and specifically for adding in resistant starch. Many Paleo educators even recommend potato starch powder; but we all know that in former days when everyone was eating good, mineral rich foods no one was eating a pesticide grown (think dirty dozen) factory-made anything. Whole foods! That’s the way!