Healthy Potatoes – Potato Benefits
Now, more than ever in our society, we have more food choices available to us. Unfortunately, many of the tastiest choices are carbohydrates. It’s true that we eat way too many carbs and our health is feeling the effects of this. It’s the way we dress up that poor potato that turns it into heath nightmare.
Let’s Bring the Potato Back!
The potato has been an important part of our diet for hundreds of years. Delicious, nutritious, easy to grow and round in shape, it is the perfect vegetable! Unfortunately, in recent years the potato has been under attack from those who have declared war on carbohydrates.
In our sometimes insane quest to lose weight, we have forgotten that the potato is actually very good for you. A naked potato is a healthy potato! Potatoes are loaded with fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. They help prevent cancer, lower your risk of diabetes and reduce heart attack risk. Potatoes are also incredible versatile and can be mashed, fried, baked, stuffed, steamed and even blanched.
Some Potato Facts:
- Potatoes contain 40% of the daily value for vitamin C
- Contains 600 mg potassium, comparable to bananas and spinach
- Contains 6 % iron
- Average size potato is only 110 calories
- Potatoes contain no fat or cholesterol
- 1 potato has 2 grams of healthy fiber
How to Make Potatoes even Healthier!
Cook your potatoes and then chill them overnight before you eat them. Cooling potatoes turns this high-glycemic vegetable into a low-to- moderate-glycemic vegetable, and that helps to keep your blood sugar levels more stable. So give your potatoes some chill. Make a tasty potato salad using cooled potatoes, a dressing of lemon juice & olive oil, and a sprinkle of feta cheese. You can read more about the exciting news of adding more “Resistant Starch” to your diet RIGHT HERE.
Potatoes and Nutrition
The best thing about potatoes is what they don’t have. A potato has close to zero fat, no sodium and no cholesterol. That is great news for anyone who is on a diet or is looking to avoid fat, sodium and cholesterol. Potatoes are loaded with nutrients including potassium, vitamin C, magnesium, B6, Iron and calcium (potatogoodness.com, 2014). Most people don’t understand the massive amount of Vitamin C available in potatoes. A single 148 gram potato can provide as much as 45% of your recommended daily vitamin C intake! Potato skins are also loaded with potassium, with a single potato providing 18% of your recommended daily intake. Potassium helps maintain a healthy heart and can reduce high blood pressure. Iron found in potatoes helps your blood carry oxygen throughout your body, crucial for your overall health. The level of B6 found within potatoes is also very high, with a single potato providing 10% of your recommended daily intake. B-6 plays a crucial role in managing your metabolism, protecting your nervous system and keeping your immune system in top shape. Vitamin B6 is water-soluble, so you must replenish it daily — potatoes are a great way to do it!
Ten Amazing Health Benefits of Potatoes
Almost everyone enjoys potatoes in one form or another, whether they are baked, mashed or roasted. They are a staple food worldwide, and their versatility ensures their place in a wide range of different meals. While greasy and salty French fries are clearly bad for your body, the unembellished potato is packed full of nutrients that can improve your health. Read on to discover the ten most significant reasons why adding more potatoes to your diet can improve and extend your life.
1) They can help to lower your blood pressure:
A group of British scientists has recently discovered that since potatoes contain kukoamines, they may be able to lower blood pressure. It is as yet unclear how many potatoes you would need to eat each week in order to see an improvement in your blood pressure levels, but it is suspected that several servings a day would be optimal. In addition, potatoes are a source of quercetin, and there is a growing body of evidence suggesting that quercetin is capable of lowering blood pressure.
2) They may help to boost cognitive function:
If your brain is to work well, it needs a supply of glucose, magnesium, B vitamins, particular fatty acids, and a few different amino acids. Potatoes can provide you with almost all of these nutrients, so eating plenty of potatoes may improve your cognitive function and help to keep your mind sharp. It is also worth noting that the vitamin B6 in potatoes is necessary for the production of GABA, a neurotransmitter that is required for proper brain function.
3) They reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular illnesses:
There are around sixty different kinds of phytochemicals in the skin of a potato, and the ones that are flavonoids can help to make you less likely to develop cardiovascular disease by reducing your levels of LDL (i.e. ‘bad’) cholesterol. Further, it has been discovered that eating potatoes can reduce your risk of suffering from a heart attack or stroke. This health benefit comes from the fact that vitamin B6 lowers the levels of homocysteine in your body, and people with high levels of homocysteine are at high risk of experiencing both heart attacks and strokes. Just one cup of baked potato provides you with 21% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin B6, so your heart will thank you if you make potatoes a regular part of your diet.
4) They can help you to lose weight:
The simple carbohydrates found in unhealthy snacks (such as cookies) can only alleviate hunger pangs for short periods of time. In contrast, potatoes contain complex carbohydrates, so they can help to keep hunger pangs at bay for a substantial amount of time. For this reason, potatoes are a good choice if you are on a diet, as they discourage binge eating and encourage you to avoid snacking too much between meals.
5) They may be able to protect you against cancer:
Firstly, the fact that the potato is so rich in fiber means that eating plenty of potatoes will lower your risk of developing certain cancers. Specifically, studies have shown that those who eat the most fiber are among the least likely to develop cancers of the colon or rectum. Secondly, potatoes provide you with folate, and a high intake of folate is linked to a decreased likelihood of suffering from cancers of the lung, uterus and cervix.
6) They promote the creation of new cells:
One cup of baked potato provides you with 21% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin B6, which is vital for the synthesis of amino acids. Nucleic acids also depend on vitamin B6 for their synthesis, and nucleic acids are necessary for new cell formation.
7) They are good for your digestive system:
The fact that carbohydrates are the main components in potatoes makes these vegetables easy to digest. Potatoes also contain around 12% of your recommended daily intake of fiber, so they help to keep your bowel movements regular and prevent constipation.
8) They can make a good addition to your skin routine:
Potatoes contain a wide range of nutrients that promote healthy skin (including potassium, zinc, phosphorus and magnesium). In addition, you can crush raw potatoes and mix them with honey to create a skin treatment cream. Some people with acne find that such a mask can improve the condition of their skin and reduce the severity of their zits.
9) They can help to prevent anemia:
By promoting the production of red blood cells, the folate found in potatoes makes you less likely to suffer from anemia. Anemic people suffer from fatigue and cognitive difficulties as a result of a lack of red blood cells. A lack of red blood cells is a problem because these cells carry oxygen around your body, and all of your vital organs need oxygen in order to function properly.
10) They are a good snack for postmenopausal women:
Postmenopausal women famously experience a range of troubling health problems, and the folate found in potatoes appears to help with some of the most prominent. In particular, women who take folate supplements reliably experience fewer uncomfortable hot flashes.
To get the most benefits from eating potatoes, you should eat them with their skins on. However you enjoy your potatoes, steamed, mashed, baked, boiled or fried — you are enjoying a nutritious and healthy vegetable. Bon Apetit!