The surprising health benefits of potatoes, according to a nutritionist

Delicious and reliable, potatoes have been a beloved inexpensive side dish for hundreds of years. Over the centuries, potatoes have been transformed into many forms, such as french fries, potato chips, tots, and mashed potatoes. And while many potato preparations contain excess fat and sodium, potatoes on their own are nutritious and versatile vegetables.

Eating potatoes can improve heart and metabolic health, and aid in weight management and weight loss Gut health and athletic performance. Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t shy away from sweet potatoes and ways to add them to your diet.

Golden baked potato with rosemary.  (SimpleImages/Getty Images)

Golden baked potato with rosemary. (SimpleImages/Getty Images)

Nutrition facts about potatoes

One Small potato she has:

  • 135 calories

  • 3 grams of protein

  • 0 g fat

  • 30 grams of carbohydrates

  • 4 grams of fiber (11% Daily Value (DV))

  • 34 milligrams vitamin C (37% DV)

  • 722 milligrams potassium (15% DV)

Health benefits of eating potatoes

Potatoes are notorious for their carbohydrate content, which is why some low-carb dieters avoid root vegetables. But the benefits of eating potatoes should put your carb concerns to rest.

Potatoes are heart healthy

This creamy tuber is a good source of fiber, which has been linked to heart health. Actually, big An observational study Among more than 2,000 people, it was found that those who ate potatoes when combined with higher levels of physical activity and lower intake of red meat had a 24% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes and a 26% lower risk of high triglycerides.

Potatoes can help you control your weight

Potatoes are also a source of resistant starch – a type of carbohydrate that “resists” digestion. Resistant starch controls hunger, which helps in weight control. So it is not surprising that the study Eating potatoes is suggested to suppress appetite and short-term food intake. In addition, Research He asserts that pairing potatoes with a protein, such as eggs, increases satiety and reduces food intake in the short term.

Roast potatoes on a rustic dark wood table.  (pjohnson1/Getty Images)

Roast potatoes on a rustic dark wood table. (pjohnson1/Getty Images)

Potatoes are good for gut health

Resistant starch also has a positive Gut health antiquities. a Small study A study of 50 participants found that eating 1 side dish of potatoes per day for 4 weeks slightly altered the composition and diversity of the gut microbiota. Search In mice similar results are also seen – the mice experienced less inflammation and disruption in the gut when fed potato resistant starch. More research is needed on this topic, but the results are promising.

Potatoes are full of nutrients

In addition, potatoes are a good source of potassium, a mineral that has the ability to lower blood pressure. a Small randomized controlled trial They observed the effects of feeding potatoes to adults with hypertension, or high blood pressure, for 16 days. The study authors concluded that eating potatoes was associated with lower blood pressure. In other words, eating potatoes as part of a healthy eating plan may prevent high blood pressure.

Are there disadvantages to eating potatoes?

Because potatoes are often served in the form of chips or fry, they get a bad rap. But whether or not the potato’s shape plays a role in health is up for debate.

a A large observational study Found a link between potatoes in any form and higher diet quality and increased intake of nutrients. else Long term study that followed the participants for 8 years concluded that frequent consumption of french fries increases the risk of death. But since french fries are usually part of a fast food meal, it’s impossible to know if other unhealthy eating patterns factored into these results. Since french fries, french fries, and mashed potatoes have added saturated fat and sodium, it’s best to eat these foods in moderation.

Another concern about potatoes is their carbohydrate count. But according to the Dietary Guidelines, carbohydrates should account for 45-65% of calories, and they are not eaten. linked for obesity. The amount of carbohydrates in a potato is similar to two slices of bread and less than an ounce of pasta.

Fun facts about potatoes

These intriguing tidbits are a few more reasons to add potatoes to your cart.

It fuels athletic performance

Because of their carbohydrate, potassium, and protein content, potatoes have been linked to improvements in athletic performance. Since carbohydrates are the main fuel for exercise, potatoes have been studied extensively for their potential as pre-workout fuel. a study In cyclists, they compared the effectiveness of potatoes and energy gels on performance during a timed trial. The results showed no difference between the groups, which indicates that potatoes provide the same amount of energy as sports nutrition products.

The protein from potatoes has also been studied for its effectiveness in stimulating muscle growth. Although the research is limited, one Small trial Shown that consuming 30 grams of potato protein concentrate increased rates of muscle protein synthesis in healthy males. Potato protein powder is not widely available, but you may start to see it appear in the future.

Finally, potassium is an electrolyte that is lost in sweat. Eating potatoes before exercise can reduce fluid loss and help keep you hydrated during exercise.

There are more than 200 varieties of potatoes

Although you may only see a few varieties of potatoes in the store, there are more than 200 varieties grown in the United States. Each species fits into one of these categories: burgundy, red, white, yellow, blue/purple, fingerling, and small. They all have slightly different textures and flavors, but each variety is versatile and delicious.

Whatever type you choose, store your potatoes in a cool, dark place, such as your pantry. Storing potatoes in the refrigerator turns the starch into sugar, which changes the taste and texture. Potatoes will stay fresh for several months in cold storage. If the potatoes start to sprout, remove the sprouts and cook as normal.

Fresh potato salad.  (Fodeo/Getty Images)

Fresh potato salad. (Fodeo/Getty Images)

healthy potato recipes

Besides the good old baked potato, there are plenty of potato preparations. Whether you like your potatoes mashed, stuffed, fried, cheesy, or in a tasty salad, we’ve got options for you. Try some of these the next time you want to up your potato game:

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