Research shows spuds are the perfect match for steak dinners

Caitriona Murphy

Forget your tofu and bean sprouts; ignore all that talk of meat-free Monday and lay down those noodle chopsticks – it seems that the traditional Irish 'meat and spuds' dinner is healthier than we thought.

New research from New Zealand suggests a positive link between eating red meat and potatoes in one meal and the health of your gut.

Kiwi research company Plant and Food Research found that the impact of red meat consumption on bowel health may be reduced by eating it along with fermentable dietary fibre, such as that found in potatoes.

Scientist Dr Chrissie Butts said the proteins people eat can influence the metabolism of microbiota in their gut and therefore their bowel health.

"While most proteins are digested and absorbed by the small intestine, undigested protein reaching the large bowel is fermented and can result in potentially toxic compounds," she explained. "Our research showed that by delivering dietary constituents that supported beneficial bacteria and restricting the growth of pathogenic bacteria in the large bowel, we were able to have a positive effect on the host's health."

The eight-week study showed that meals of red meat with potato fibre or potato-resistant starch had significant effects in the large bowel, including higher concentrations of beneficial bacteria.

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Irish Independent


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