5 Awesome Health Benefits of Potatoes (VZ 301)

bowl of potatoes

The Great Potato Controversy

There are several foods that cause a lot of controversy regarding their overall healthiness. One of these foods is the potato. If you Google “Are Potatoes Good for You?” you’ll find plenty of articles arguing each side of the issue, all citing studies in defense of their perspective.

 

Larissa and I believe moderation is key in most things, so in today’s episode of the podcast we won’t address the “great potato controversy.” Instead, we’ll just talk about some of the known benefits of incorporating potatoes into your diet.

 

You can listen to us discuss the benefits of potatoes here or read on for a quick summary.

 

Potatoes Get a Bad Rap

Potatoes are called root vegetables (or tubers) because they grow underground.

 

Many of the recent trendy diets such as Atkins, South Beach, and Keto discourage eating potatoes, citing the potential for weight gain from their high carbohydrate content.  Also, due to their high Glycemic Index load, they are thought to be bad for people with diabetes. This is particularly true of white potatoes. 

 

From American Diabetes Association Website:

Question: “If you have diabetes, do you have to only eat small amounts of starchy foods, such as bread, potatoes and pasta?”

 

ADA Response: “Starchy foods can be part of a healthy meal plan, but portion size is key. Breads, cereals, pasta, rice (whole grain options are better), and starchy vegetables like potatoes, yams, peas, and corn can be included in your meals and snacks.”

 

potatoes on a coach

 

5 Health Benefits of Potatoes

  1. Low in calories. Of course, we aren’t talking about potato chips or loaded potato skins here! Plain potatoes are naturally low in calories; it’s when we pile on high-fat ingredients or cook them in unhealthy ways that the calories add up. They are naturally fat-free, gluten-free, and cholesterol-free, so the next time you’re tempted to fry your potatoes in oil, opt for boiling instead to help keep your spuds low-cal.

 

  1. Potatoes are rich in nutrients. They are a good source of iron, Vitamin C, five out of the eight B Vitamins (the highest being B6), manganese, zinc, niacin, folate, and fiber. Additionally, they contain antioxidants such as carotenoids, phenolic acids, and flavonoids which help zap disease-causing free radicals in the body.

 

  1. Skin health. The B vitamins, zinc, and magnesium found in potatoes play important roles in keeping skin healthy. While eating potatoes can help your skin from the inside out, potatoes can be applied topically as well in the form of paste or juice to help mitigate skin conditions such as hyperpigmentation and acne.  

 

  1. Potatoes are rich in potassium. Potassium is important to a healthy heart because it helps manage high blood pressure and heart disease. White potatoes have 941 mg of potassium and sweet potatoes have 542.  That’s about three times 3 times the potassium in an orange and a bit more than a banana.

 

  1. Improved Digestive Health. Potatoes contain what is known as “resistant starch.” This means that it “resists” digestion in the small intestine and instead passes to the large intestine where it ferments. This is good because the fibers feed your good gut bacteria and act as a prebiotic. One result is that you feel full longer, which can potentially help with weight loss. Another is that colon cancer chances may be reduced.

 

Potato Warning!

One important note about potatoes: Do not eat them if they are green as they can contain poisonous chemicals that cannot be destroyed by cooking.  Read more in this article The Claim: Green Potatoes are Poisonous about the dangers of eating green potatoes.

 

We hope this episode has helped you understand some of the benefits of incorporating potatoes into your diet. As we stated previously, while we ourselves think moderation is key, please be sure to consult your doctor before making any sort of drastic changes in your nutrition.

 

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Further Reading and Resources Used for this Episode:

 

Resource of the Week

 16 Vegan Recipes for the Potato Lover in All of Us

 

Recipe of the Week

Potato Casserole (Dr. John McDougall recipe) posted on Jeanne Schumacher – Simply Plant Based

Thanks for listening!

Peace and Veggies,
Vickie and Larissa