|Image 1: Potato roasting caveman-style - probably not the best way to "cook" your potatoes|
In their experiment, Venu Perla, David G. Holm, and Sastry S. Jayanty
- boiled - 1h in a sieved double-boiler,
- microwaved + cooked - 10min in a commercial microwave oven at max. highest level +10min boiling, and
- baked - 1h at 204°C in a commercial pre-heated oven
|Figure 1: Loss in total polyphenol content of 5 cultivars and 9 advanced selections of Colorado state potato tubers due to cooking, microwaving, and baking (data calculated based on Perla. 2011).|
|Figure 1: Loss in polyphenol, flavenoid and flavenol content of 5 cultivars and 9 advanced selections of Colorado state potato tubers due to cooking, microwaving, and baking (data calculated based on Perla. 2011).|
The scientists also observed that, contrary to the white and yellow fleshed tubers, where the major pigment was lutein, the "dominant pigments in the red and purple fleshed tubers were anthocyanins", the antioxidant activity of which has been implicated in the prevention (by some even the treatment) of obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hyperlipidemia and even cancer. Unfortunately, these pigments are just as susceptible to cooking, microwaving and baking as the polyphenols, flavenoids and flavenols, so that the total anti-oxidant activity (as measured by DPPH free radical scavenging assays) of the tubers that were tested in this study was reduced by -26%, -32% and -38% by boiling, microwaving and baking, respectively.
Please note: While it is unlikely that you will die from eating a single raw potato. The solanine that can be found in all parts of the plant, including the leaves, fruit, and tubers, is a natural fungicide and pesticide the plant produces to protect itself from insects, the ingestion of which can potentially be fatal!Now, despite the fact that microwaving is only slightly less damaging that baking, I assume that putting the potatos directly into the fire, like the paloelithic men and women in my daydreams use to do it, probably is the worst way to prepare your tubers. Yet while even microwaving would have been a healthier option, the best and, from an evolutionary perspective, more natural solution would be to boil your potatoes.