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Batata: descubra suas qualidades nutricionais

Deliciosa, mas pouco nutritiva. Por muito tempo esse tubérculo foi visto assim. Quanto engano! Estudos recentes vêm mostrando que ele esconde um monte de atributos

Publicado em 11/09/2013

Ana Gonzaga

batata

1. Batata-inglesa: é a mais comum; 2. Batata doce: rica em fibras, é boa para o intestino; 3. Yacon: tem gosto de pera
 Foto: Dercílio

A batata é o acompanhamento certo para o bacalhau, a carne assada e uma infinidade de pratos. Desde que foi levada da América do Sul para a Europa pelos espanhóis, no século XVI, esse alimento tem sido visto como um delicioso amontoado de amido que mata a fome. E nada mais. Na última década, porém, métodos mais acurados de análise de substâncias químicas passaram a enxergar no tubérculo uma porção de componentes altamente nutritivos, alguns até capazes de prevenir doenças.

Uma dessas novidades é a patatina, uma das proteínas mais abundantes na batata. "Ela ajuda a formar a membrana celular, mantendo-a íntegra", explica a nutricionista Vanderlí Marchiori, consultora da Associação Paulista de Nutrição. Um trabalho publicado em 2003 no Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, dos Estados Unidos, comprovou que, pelo menos nos testes de laboratório, a patatina age como antioxidante. Ou seja, ela anula a ação dos radicais livres, moléculas instáveis de oxigênio que atacam as células.

Pode soar a exagero, mas por baixo da casca esconde-se uma pequena farmácia. "Uma substância que merece ser destacada é a quercetina, antioxidante capaz de inibir o crescimento de tumores de mama", completa Vanderlí. "A batata apresenta também quantidades apreciáveis de triptofano e lítio, que agem nos quadros de depressão", emenda Douglas Carignani Júnior, cirurgião e membro da Associação Brasileira de Nutrologia. Quanto aos valores nutricionais em si, não fica nada a dever a outros vegetais. É rica em fibras, vitamina C e todas as do complexo B, principalmente a B16, que atua na formação das células do organismo.

O tipo mais comum de batata é a inglesa, vendida nos supermercados. Ela se divide em subtipos com tamanhos diferentes, mas todos têm qualidades nutricionais semelhantes. E há ainda outras espécies que, apesar de pertencerem a famílias distintas, são parecidas no formato e nas virtudes nutricionais com a inglesa. É o caso da batata-doce, da vermelha e do yacon.

A batata, seja qual for o tipo, é rica em carboidratos. Por isso o ideal é não combiná-la com outras fontes, como o arroz ou o macarrão a mistura fica muito calórica. Cuidado, também, com os molhos e os complementos, capazes de torná-la ainda mais "gorda", assim como o modo de preparo. "Os pratos mais saudáveis são os feitos com a batata cozida ou assada", diz a nutricionista Márcia Vitolo, da Faculdade de Ciências Médicas de Porto Alegre, no Rio Grande do Sul. "O calor não destrói suas proteínas." O comum é descascá-la antes do preparo, mas é na casca que mora a maior parte das fibras. Por outro lado, ela também guarda agrotóxicos, caso o produto não seja orgânico. "A batata está entre os quatro alimentos mais contaminados", diz Vanderlí Marchiori. Para retirar ao menos parte do veneno, é bom escovar bem o tubérculo.

Manchas verdes na casca resultam de uma substância chamada solanina, produto de uma reação natural do tubérculo com a luz. É bom removê-la porque pode causar diarréia. Depois de preparado o prato, não importa a receita, nada de levá-lo ao freezer. A batata é composta por 80% de água. Durante o congelamento, a água se separa da parte sólida. E aí, ao aquecer o prato, surge como resíduo um caldo estranho e sem sabor.
 

Tire proveito da batata

 
A nutricionista Vanderlí Marchiori dá estas dicas para preservar seus nutrientes
 
Assada: é uma das formas mais saudáveis, desde que você use pouco óleo e não retire a casca. É ideal para acompanhar carnes.
 
Frita: é o modo menos recomendável de preparo, porque a alta temperatura produz substâncias que fazem mal. O melhor é assar as batatas pré-cozidas em vez de fritá-las.
 
Cozida: deve ser preparada com a casca bem lavada, pois ela funciona como uma barreira contra a saída dos nutrientes. Pode ser usada em saladas e purê.
 
Crua: a batata precisa do calor para amolecer e perder a piretrina, substância que pode causar náusea. A exceção é o yacon, que deve ser comido cru.

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