Have you dropped potatoes like a hot potato because you think they aren’t healthy? If so, we have some news that may surprise you. Not only are potatoes delicious, inexpensive and versatile, they are a nutritious addition to any meal. Here are 5 good reasons to love your spuds!
Nutritional Breakdown Of Potatoes
One medium potato contains 164 calories, 0.2 grams of fat, 0 grams of cholesterol, 37 grams of carbohydrate, 4.7 grams of dietary fiber and 4.3 grams of protein. The same serving also meets 2% of daily calcium needs, 51% vitamin C, 9% iron, 30% vitamin B-6, 12% magnesium and 25% of potassium needs. Potatoes also provide phosphorus, niacin, folate, choline and zinc.
The humble potato is vastly underrated in terms of nutritional benefits. Due to the increased interest in foods that are low-carb or low-glycemic index, the potato has unjustly earned a bad reputation.
Unlike processed potato products like french fries and potato chips, whole, unprocessed potatoes have very little sodium (only 13 milligrams, less than 1% of the suggested daily limit).
Potatoes also contain a compound known as alpha-lipoic acid, which helps the body to convert glucose into energy.
Some evidence suggests that alpha-lipoic acid can aid in blood glucose control, improve vasodilation and protect against retinopathy in diabetic patients and help preserve brain and nerve tissue.
Possible health benefits of consuming potatoes
- They Won’t Make You Fat!
Often maligned as a fattening, starchy, empty-calorie side dish, potatoes can actually be a part of a successful weight loss regimen. A University of California, Davis study found that you can lose weight without losing potatoes! Scientists measured the effects of a reduced-calorie diet with the addition of potatoes over a 12-week period. Participants were randomly assigned to three groups and each had a diet that included five to seven servings of potatoes per week. All three groups lost weight because when it comes to weight loss, it’s reducing total calories that count, not cutting out a specific food.
- They’ll Help You Stay Full
While a medium potato has just 110 calories and no fat, research shows they can help you feel fuller than you might with some other carbohydrate foods. That’s partly because a potato has about 2 grams of filling fiber and 3 grams of protein. One study even found that boiled potatoes scored the highest on a “satiety index” of all foods. They’re more than twice as filling as whole grain bread, and generally more filling than fish, steak and all the fruits and vegetables according to the study.
- They Have More Potassium than a Banana
A medium potato (with skin) contains more potassium (620mg) than a banana, making it a good source of this important and under-consumed nutrient. Potassium plays a key role in controlling blood pressure because potassium lessens the effects of sodium. Potassium is also vital for transmitting nerve impulses or signals, and in helping muscles contract. The average adults needs about 4,700 mg of potassium everyday, so making potatoes a regular part of a healthy diet can help you meet your requirement.
- They Have Nearly Half the Vitamin C You’ll Need in a Day
When you think of vitamin C, oranges, lemons or other citrus fruits probably spring to mind. But potatoes are also an excellent source of this essential nutrient. In fact, a medium potato meets about 45% of your daily needs. That’s more vitamin C than you’ll find in a medium-sized tomato!
Researchers believe that vitamin C may help limit cell damage in the body. It also helps to build collagen, so it’s vital to healthy skin.
- They’re a Source of Iron
While potatoes aren’t a major source of dietary iron, a medium potato has about 6% of the recommended daily iron intake. That’s good news for vegetarians and those who don’t get their iron from eating meat. Iron is essential for carrying oxygen throughout the body and plays an important role in cell function everywhere in the body.