13 Health Benefits, Risks & Nutrition of Potatoes.
If you don’t like potatoes while trying to figure out some helpful health benefits before you give it a try, probably you have been missing alot and may become a good lover of potatoes after reading these 13 health benefits, risks & nutrition of Potatoes.
But Do you know that potatoes comes in thousands of varieties as red, blue and yellow and potatoes are the most popular. Potatoes are often thought of as a comfort food — richly mashed with butter and sour cream or crisply fried in vegetable oil. But when prepared in these ways, they can lead to weight gain, diabetes and heart disease, according to the Harvard School of Public Health
It may also amaze you that Potatoes are the No. 1 vegetable crop in the United States and the fourth most consumed crop in the world, behind rice, wheat and corn, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Perhaps maybe because potatoes is very delicious.
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Historically, Americans ate most of their potatoes fresh. According to the USDA, processed potatoes composed 64 percent of total U.S. potato use during the 2000s, compared to 35 percent in the 1960s. Americans, on average, eat 55 lbs. (35 kilograms) of frozen potatoes per year, 42 lbs. (19 kg) of fresh potatoes, 17 lbs. (8 kg) of potato chips and 14 lbs. (6 kg) of dehydrated potato products.
According to Victoria Jarzabkowski, a nutritionist with the Fitness Institute of Texas at The University of Texas at Austin said: potatoes aren’t necessarily bad for you. When cooked the right way — without heaps of butter, cheese or cream they can even be good for you she said.
What Potatoes Contains
Potatoes are low in calories — a medium-sized baked potato contains only about 110 calories. They are a good source of vitamins C and B6, manganese, phosphorus, niacin and pantothenic acid.
Nutrition facts of Potatoes
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which regulates food labeling through the National Labeling and Education Act:
Serving size: 1 medium (5.3 oz. / 148 g)
Calories 110; Calories from Fat 0
*Percent Daily Values (%DV) are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Amt per Serving
Amt per Serving
Total Fat 0g
Total Carbohydrate 26g
Dietary Fiber 2g
14 Health benefits of Potatoes
1. Potatoes are stuffed with phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are organic components of plants that are thought to promote health, according to the USDA. Phytonutrients in potatoes include carotenoids, flavonoids and caffeic acid.
2. Potatoes servers as an antioxidant, because it contain vitamin C. These substances may prevent or delay some types of cell damage, according to the National Institutes of Health. They may also help with digestion, heart health, blood pressure and even cancer prevention.
3. Purple potatoes are good sources of phytonutrients and antioxidants. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry found that six to eight small purple potatoes twice a day helped lower blood pressure and risk of heart disease and stroke among people who were overweight and suffering from hypertension and it helps to sustain weight level.
4. Potatoes lower Blood pressure. Potatoes may help lower blood pressure for several reasons. Jarzabkowski said that the fiber found in potatoes could help lower cholesterol by binding with cholesterol in the blood. “After it binds, we excrete it.”
5. Potatoes are potassium rich. Potatoes are also a good source of potassium. “All potatoes are potassium rich,” Jarzabkowski said. “They have even more potassium than a banana, and a lot of it is found in the [potato’s] skin.” She noted that the outer potato peel also contains a good deal of fiber.
Potassium, too, can help lower blood pressure through its actions as a vasodilator (blood vessel widener). Scientists at the Institute for Food Research have discovered that potatoes contain chemicals called kukoamines, which are associated with lowering blood pressure.
6. Another health benefits of Potatoes is that it contains vitamins B6 that helps the brain functioning and nervous system. Some good impacts of vitamins B6 to the body:
• The B6 vitamins in potatoes are critical to maintaining neurological health. Vitamin B6 helps create useful brain chemicals, including serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
• Potatoes may help with depression, stress and even perhaps attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
• Potatoes’ high level of carbohydrates may have some advantages, including helping maintain good levels of glucose in the blood, which is necessary to proper brain functioning.
A 1995 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that modest increases in glucose could help enhance learning and memory.
6. Potatoes contain Victim C which serves as Immunity to the body. Vitamin C can help prevent everything from scurvy to the common cold, and potatoes are full of this nutrient, with about 45 percent of the recommended daily intake per medium baked potato, according to the Washington State Potato Commission .
7. Potatoes server as Inflammation. Some people think potatoes and other members of the nightshade family — such as eggplants, tomatoes and peppers — trigger arthritis flares. However, there is limited scientific evidence to support this hypothesis, according to the Arthritis Foundation. The organization suggests that people with arthritis try cutting nightshade vegetables from their diets for two weeks to see if symptoms improve. A 2011 study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that potatoes might reduce inflammation.
8. Potatoes contain high fiber which helps food digestion.
The largest health benefit offered by potatoes is how they can help with digestion due to their high fiber content, Jarzabkowski said. Potatoes’ high level of carbohydrates makes them easy to digest, while their fiber-filled skin can help keep you regular.
9. Heart health
Potatoes give your heart plenty of reasons to swoon, due to the fiber content. Jarzabkowski said fiber is associated with clearing cholesterol from blood vessels; vitamins C and B6 help reduce free radicals; and carotenoids help maintain proper heart functioning.
10. Potatoes can help restore electrolyte balance.
Jarzabkowski described how potatoes could be a win for athletes. she said. “Sodium and potassium, which are found in potato peels, are two important electrolytes, and athletes lose them in sweat.” Electrolytes are necessary for optimum body function, and having too few can cause cramps, as many athletes know.
11. Potatoes help Skin care. According to Organic Facts, vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, magnesium, zinc and phosphorous can all help keep skin as smooth and creamy as, well, mashed potatoes. These nutrients are all present in potatoes.
12. Potatoes help reduce the risk to cancer. A 2017 study published by the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry found that consuming purple potatoes might reduce the risk of colon cancer. Purple potatoes are high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce levels of interleukin-6 or IL-6, a protein linked to cancer cell growth within the colon.
13. Blood sugar.
Potatoes are fat free, but they are also starchy carbohydrates with little protein. According to Harvard, the carbs in potatoes are the kind that the body digests rapidly and have a high glycemic load (or glycemic index). That is, they cause blood sugar and insulin to surge and then dip. This effect can make people feel hungry again soon after eating, which may lead to overeating. The rapid rise in blood sugar can also lead to increased insulin production. Jarzabkowski said, “The last thing I’d recommend to a diabetic is a potato.”
On the other hand, potatoes are also a great source of fiber, Jarzabkowski said, and the fiber content helps you feel fuller longer. A 2016 study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that different individuals respond to a food’s glycemic index value in substantially different ways. Therefore, suggested the study, the glycemic index is limited in its usefulness in terms of recommending food choices.
Carbs Jarzabkowski recommended that when planning meals, people should remember potatoes’ carb content. “Potatoes should take the place of a grain on the plate. Use it as a carb rather than as your only vegetable,” she said.
Even when prepared in a healthy way, potatoes can present health problems to individuals with obesity or diabetes. They are high in simple carbohydrates, which can lead to weight gain. Jarzabkowski likened the vegetables in this way to white bread.
The Harvard School of Public Health tracked the diet and lifestyle of 120,000 men and women for about 20 years and found that people who increased their consumption of French fries and baked or mashed potatoes gained more weight over time — as much as 3.4 lbs. every four years.
Healthiest ways to cook potatoes
You can probably guess that smothering your potato in sour cream and bacon isn’t the healthiest way to enjoy it, but what is? Which is more nutritious — baked, boiled or steamed potatoes?
Jarzabkowski emphasized the importance of preparation in potato consumption. “The best way to eat a potato is in its whole, unprocessed form,” she said. Baking a potato is the best way to prepare it, as baking, or microwaving, a potato causes the lowest amount of nutrients to be lost, she said.
The next-healthiest way to cook a potato is through steaming, which causes less nutrient loss than boiling. Cooking a peeled potato in this way results in significant nutrient loss, as the water-soluble nutrients leach out into the water.
In a potato, those water-soluble nutrients include B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, potassium and calcium. As much as 80 percent of a potato’s vitamin C may go down the drain if you boil the vegetable. The same thing can happen with peeled potatoes that are left to soak, a method used to stop darkening. If you use the water from the potato boil as stock, however, you’ll still get some of the nutrients. However you cook a potato, try to eat the skin. Ounce for ounce, the skin contains more nutrients — including the majority of the vegetable’s fiber — than the rest of the potato, Jarzabkowski said.
Are potato eyes poisonous?
If the eyes of a potato are not sprouting, they can be eaten. If they are sprouting, the National Institutes of Health recommends cutting off the eyes and their sprouts before eating the potato.
Potato stems, branches, leaves and fruits are toxic, containing alkaloids such as arsenic, chaconine and solanine. Solanine is “very toxic even in small amounts,” according to the NIH.
Poison is also found in green potatoes. The vegetables turn green if they have had too much exposure to light. According to the NIH, you should “never eat potatoes that are spoiled or green below the skin.”