Potatoes are one of the most versatile vegetables you can eat on a daily basis, and they’re also one of the most affordable. Whether boiled, mashed, grilled, or baked, there’s a reason why potatoes rank so high on the list of healthiest foods. They’re a great source of potassium, fiber, and vitamin C and are low in fat, calories, and sodium. Potatoes are so good for you, in fact, that you can eat them as often as you like! Here are 10 amazing benefits of potatoes that you probably didn’t know about…
1) Potatoes Are Low in Fat
As well as being rich in nutrients, potatoes are low in fat and contain no cholesterol. Because they’re so filling and affordable, potatoes are a great option if you want to lose weight. For those who want to get leaner and healthier but aren’t too concerned about calories, potatoes make an excellent staple food. The average baked potato has around 110 calories. While that doesn’t sound like much (especially compared to French fries), it can be a healthy part of your diet. Additionally, many varieties have next to no saturated fat. They also contain more potassium than bananas do—another nutrient that’s essential for good health.
2) Loaded with Fiber
When it comes to fruit and vegetables, most people think about increasing their daily servings of green, leafy vegetables or piles of colorful berries. These choices are great for a few reasons, but if you’re looking to increase your fiber intake, potatoes are one of your best bets. A medium potato has 4 grams, which is more than an entire avocado (3.7 grams) or 3 cups of broccoli. They Also Contain Antioxidants: When we think about antioxidants, spinach and berries usually come to mind. But potatoes are actually loaded with a type called quercetin that protects our bodies from damage caused by free radicals.
3) Get Vitamin C From Them
Not only are potatoes a great source of vitamin C. But, thanks to their high fiber content, potatoes digest more slowly and gradually release glucose into your bloodstream so you can avoid a crash and burn. This slow conversion also helps reduce food cravings that could otherwise lead to overindulgence in unhealthy snacks. One medium-sized potato contains about 5 grams of fiber—or about 18 percent of an adult’s daily recommended intake—so try making dinner out of these starchy veggies tonight!
4) These Vegetables Are Very High in Iron
Women are often prescribed prenatal vitamins that contain iron. As it turns out, potatoes contain more non-heme iron than any other common vegetable. With 3.7 milligrams per cup (cooked), these tubers give you a dose of plant-based nutrients that will help keep you healthy for many years to come!
5) Potatoes Can Help Prevent Heart Disease
A starchy diet is associated with an increased risk for heart disease. According to one study, men who had a diet high in potassium but low in calcium were 11% less likely to develop heart disease than those who consumed less potassium. The same study also showed that women who followed a diet high in calcium but low in potassium were 17% more likely to develop heart disease than women who consumed both nutrients in adequate amounts.
6) Can Help Ward Off Cancer
Most of us know that red potatoes offer heart-healthy benefits, but did you know they can also support brain function? (1) Red potatoes contain quercetin, a flavonoid known to promote overall health. The best part is quercetin might not just improve your health but reduce your chances of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s. (2) In fact, studies show that diets high in quercetin have been linked to higher cognitive function and memory performance. Of course, another way to achieve these healthy results is by eating a whole foods diet that includes plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables as well as healthy fats and proteins.
7) Improve Brain Function
Those who love potatoes know that they are considered a superfood. Perhaps most importantly, potatoes can help your brain function at its best. They are rich in choline—an essential nutrient for proper brain development and maintenance that is very difficult to get through diet alone. As such, if you’re a pregnant woman or planning on getting pregnant soon, consider eating more potatoes.
8) Protect Against Type 2 Diabetes
One medium potato contains 110 calories, 25% of your daily recommended amount. This makes potatoes a low-calorie food choice when you’re trying to lose weight or eat healthier. In addition, potatoes are very filling and nutritious. Add mashed potatoes to soups and casseroles for extra flavor, flavor baked potatoes with nonfat butter spray, and add fresh herbs from your garden. Make fingerling potato fries with your favorite spices and bake them at 400 degrees for 40 minutes.
9) Fight Inflammation and Arthritis
High in fiber and relatively low in calories, potatoes are a great weight-loss tool. One study published in The Journal of Nutrition found that after 12 weeks, both groups lost about 4.4 pounds [2 kg]. But there was no significant difference between their average weight loss. In other words, if you want to lose weight with potatoes, eat a serving or two along with your other healthy meals throughout the day. This can help protect against heart disease and stroke, so try to include them at every meal.
10) Weight Loss
Some claim that potatoes are a vegetable—not so. The truth is, that potatoes are actually more closely related to tomatoes and eggplants than they are to other vegetables. Like these others, they contain complex carbohydrates and have a high glycemic index. Which means they have a greater impact on blood sugar levels. While eating one or two servings per day won’t necessarily cause weight gain. Potato consumption can easily lead to overconsumption and an unhealthy diet if you’re not careful.
11) Protect your vision
Potatoes are packed with nutrients that can help protect your vision. potatoes also contain vitamin C, which has been shown to reduce the risk of cataracts. Plus, the potassium in potatoes can help keep your blood pressure in check, which is important for maintaining healthy eyesight. So next time you’re looking for a healthy snack, reach for a potato!