Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thursday Tips: Top those Taters right!

Image: Master isolated images /

Stuff that potato with the right toppings and reap the benefits!  Studies show that the intake of vitamins B6 and B9 (a.k.a folate or folic acid) help reduce the instance of cardiovascular diseases.

The B-vitamins appear to act as an anti-inflammatory agent in your body, helping reduce blood levels of homocysteine.  Homocysteine is an amino acid that your body synthesizes, and in high levels can have deleterious effects upon your cardiovascular system.

Potatoes are already rich in vitamin B6 so when you load them up with toppings, consider complementing them with a food that is rich in folic acid.

What foods are rich in folic acid?  Glad you asked!  Here's a short list:

  • Avocadoes - creamy and rich, a natural baked potato topper! Just remember your portion sizes.
  • Spinach - Seems like Popeye was onto something.  Spinach is an excellent source of folate, and can be chopped up or pan-wilted as a topping.
  • Broccoli - Buy some frozen baby broccoli florets and steam them. Toss them into your baked potato with a half serving of cheese and you have an extra tasty baked potato.
  • Garbanzo beans (chickpeas) - I love chickpeas, and I would be more than willing to try them in a baked potato. An even better idea? Use a tablespoon of hummus instead.
  • Celery  - Chop up a little celery, a few onions, maybe a half slice of bacon crumbled.

If you're wondering what other foods are rich in folic acid, head over here.