The power of potassium



    
    By Jayne MacDonald, RD

       The United Nations General Assembly has named 2008 the International
    Year of the Potato to draw attention to the role potatoes can play in
        improving diets and reducing poverty. The potato is low in fat and
     rich in nutrients such as vitamin C and potassium. Below is one in a
        series of articles highlighting the potato and its many health
                                  benefits
    


    FLORENCEVILLE, NB, Feb. 20 /CNW/ - Few vegetables contain more potassium
than potatoes. In fact, potatoes have more potassium than bananas, spinach or
broccoli.
    Potassium is a mineral that is part of every body cell and is vital to
the body's growth and maintenance. It helps keep a normal water balance
between the cells and body fluids, which help maintain normal blood pressure.
Potassium is also important for transmitting nerve impulses or signals, and in
helping muscles contract.
    Your heart, digestive and muscular functions all depend on potassium. In
addition, increasing the amount of potassium-containing foods in your diet may
help keep your bones strong and healthy.
    According to Health Canada, men and women over the age of 14 should
consume 4700 mg of potassium a day. A 150 g raw potato with skin on contains
630 mg of potassium.
    Potassium can be lost in cooking some foods so to retain it, cook foods
in a minimal amount of water and cook for the shortest possible time.

    
    Shepherd's Pie

    Servings: 6-8

    1 1/2 lb Hamburger
    1 Cup Chopped Onion
    1 Cup Frozen Peas
    1 Cup Fresh or Frozen Cut Carrots
    1 Cup Frozen Corn
    1 Package (2 tsp) Beef Bouillon Powder
    3/4 Cup Boiling Water
    1/4 tsp Pepper
    1/4 tsp Salt
    5 Medium Potatoes

    Method

      1) Peel potatoes and cook in water until tender. Drain and mash. Set
         aside.
      2) Cook hamburger until browned and no pink is visible. Drain.
      3) Add vegetables and spices to hamburger and mix to blend ingredients.
      4) Add boiling water to bouillon powder, stir to dissolve and then add
         to hamburger mixture.
      5) Spray a 9" x 13" pan with a non-hydrogenated cooking spray.
      6) Add hamburger mixture to pan.
      7) Spread mashed potatoes over the top of the hamburger.
      8) Bake in a 375degreesF oven for about 40 minutes or until the
         Shepherd's Pie is heated through ((greater than)75degreesC)
    

    The potato is a versatile vegetable that can be enjoyed in a variety of
ways.
    Whether you bake, roast, fry, boil or mash them, keep in mind proper
portioning.
    For more information on the International Year of the Potato or to learn
about the importance of the potato as a staple in diets around the world,
visit: www.potato2008.org.

    Jayne MacDonald is a registered dietitian with McCain Foods (Canada)

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For further information:

For further information: Calla Farn, Director, Corporate Affairs,
Government and Public Relations, McCain Foods (Canada), (506) 392-3277,
calla.farn@mccain.ca


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