Potato pop quiz! Are potatoes healthy?
Yes! According to a National Eating Trends survey, potatoes are America’s favorite side dish, and that’s great news, America, because the potatoes you love are good for you, too.
Just in time for the back to school season, here is your A to Z guide on potato nutrition*:
Antioxidants. Potatoes contain antioxidants including vitamin C, carotenoids, and anthocyanins. The amounts and types are dependent upon the potato variety. So, make sure to include a number of different potato types (e.g., reds, purples, yellow, russets) in your diet.
Vitamin B6. Potatoes are a good source vitamin B6, which is a nutrient that plays an important role in carbohydrate and protein metabolism. It helps turn the energy from food into energy your body can use.
Vitamin C. Potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C (45% of the DV), in fact they have more vitamin C than one medium tomato (40% DV) or sweet potato (30% DV). Vitamin C plays a key role in the synthesis of collagen (important for healthy skin and gums) and may help support the body’s immune system.
Delicious. Potatoes are a blank canvas for hundreds of flavor combinations. Asian, Italian, American, German, Mediterranean…the possibilities are endless!
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Fiber. One wholesome, satisfying potato with skin contributes 2 grams of fiber to the diet or 8% of the recommended daily value. Dietary fiber has been shown to have numerous health benefits, including improving blood lipid levels, regulating blood glucose, and increasing satiety (makes you feel full longer), which may help with weight loss.
Gluten-Free. Potatoes are naturally gluten-free. An ideal substitution for some of your favorite bread, grain and pasta-based dishes, potatoes add a boost of nutritional benefits too.
Healthy. That’s right, potatoes can be part of a healthy diet. It’s the toppings that typically put spuds over the top in calories and fat. Try salsa, low-fat cheese and broccoli instead!
Glycemic Index. The GI of potatoes is highly variable depending on the variety, origin and preparation methods. Confused? Don’t worry about it–both the 2010 and 2015 Dietary Guidelines committees concluded there is no evidence indicating the GI aids in weight loss or weight loss maintenance.
Just 110 Calories. A medium (5.3 ounce) potato with skin has just 110 calories. Keep them lean by simply roasting with olive oil, herbs and a pinch of salt.
K = Potassium (periodic table, anyone?). Research suggests diets high in potassium and low in sodium may reduce the risk of hypertension and stroke. Potatoes with skin are a good source of potassium.
Label. Look to the FDA-approved nutrition label for all of the facts on potato nutrition.
Magnesium. A medium potato provides 48 mg of magnesium and research indicates potatoes contribute 5% of the total magnesium intake in the diets of Americans. **
Nutrition Facts: One medium potato has no fat, sodium or cholesterol. Just check out the FDA-approved nutrition label!
OMG. Who doesn’t love the taste of potatoes?! Expand your passion for potatoes even further with new types, cooking preparations, and global spices.
Peel. The potato’s skin contains approximately half the total dietary fiber, but the majority (> 50 percent) of the nutrients are found within the potato, itself.
Quick. Potatoes come in hundreds of shapes and sizes. Try the smaller varieties for a quick stove-top meal, and remember to use the microwave to speed the cook time of all your potato recipes.
Resistant Starch. Resistant Starch (RS) is found naturally in potatoes and is a type of carbohydrate that is “resistant” to digestion by human digestive enzymes, just like dietary fiber. It also is believed to deliver similar health benefits to dietary fiber and has been shown in both human and animal studies to improve the health of the gastrointestinal tract and digestive system.
Sweet Potatoes vs. white potatoes. Surprise! Both vegetables supply important nutrients. They are similar in their calorie content as well as the amount of fiber, protein and vitamin B6. White potatoes pack the greater potassium punch (620 mg vs 440 mg) whereas sweet potatoes definitely lead the way in vitamin A (120% of the daily value). Both potatoes provide an excellent source of vitamin C (45% of the daily value for white potatoes and 30% of the daily value for sweet potatoes).
Types. Russets, reds, yellows, purples/blues, whites, fingerlings and petites. There’s a different type for every day of the week. Try them all!
USA. A vast majority of all potato farms in the U.S. are family owned. From California to the Carolinas, families just like yours work hard year-round to nurture, grow and deliver potatoes from their farm to your local market.
Vegetable. That’s right, folks. Potatoes are a vegetable.
Weight Management. Research shows potatoes (when prepared healthfully) can be part of a weight loss plan.**
Xcellent. Need we say more? Only two more letters to go and it’s pretty obvious potatoes are an excellent staple in our diet.
Yummy. According to consumers**, taste is everything. Tastes good and good for you? Potatoes are the superfood you’ve been dreaming about.
Zero. Did we mention zero fat, sodium or cholesterol?
*References to potato nutrient values are based on a medium, 5.3 oz potato with skin.
**All research references can be found at www.potatogoodness.com in the Potato Nutrition Handbook.