5 Health Benefits of Potatoes
There are so many health benefits of eating potatoes. In this article, we touch on just a few of the most important health benefits of potatoes, with some insights from clinical nutritionist, Diana Krisanski of Nourishmint Health.
- Quick look at potato health benefits:
- High in potassium
- Good levels of vitamin c
- Contain fibre, magnesium and antioxidants
- High levels of resistant starch
- High satiety rating
We know that potatoes are delicious, and they are one of the most widely used and versatile foods in different cuisines around the world. But, you may be asking yourself, “are potatoes healthy?” Diana says “Yes, provided they are prepared correctly and eaten in a balanced diet… The truth is white potatoes have a whole host of nutritional benefits, [and are] loaded with antioxidants and valuable nutrients.”
“The current trend of substituting sweet potato for white potato has created a misconception that white potatoes are bad for you and should be excluded from the diet.” Diana Krisanski, clinical nutritionist.
Potato Health Benefit #1 – Potatoes are very high in potassium:
Potassium is the third most abundant mineral in the body, and one of the most important. “The mighty spud also contains high amounts of potassium which is important for building healthy bones and promoting good heart health.” Says Diana. Potassium functions as an electrolyte, meaning it helps regulate fluid balance, muscle contractions and nerve signals. Diana adds, “Each potato contains roughly 20% of your daily potassium needs and can be more effective than bananas and sweet potatoes in improving potassium levels in the body.” A high potassium diet may also help reduce blood pressure and water retention, protect against stroke and prevent osteoporosis and kidney stones.
“They [potatoes] also contain a good amount of Manganese which is beneficial for bone health and nerve cell functioning.” Diana Krisanski, clinical nutritionist.
Potato Health Benefit #2 – Potatoes have good levels of Vitamin C:
Potatoes contain an excellent source of Vitamin C. Just one potato provides around 45% of the daily recommended intake of Vitamin C. Vitamin C won’t cure the common cold like some people have heard, but Vitamin C is a vital nutrient for health. It helps to form and maintain bones, skin and blood vessels. The body cannot store Vitamin C, therefore it is essential that humans have a daily intake of food that contains Vitamin C, like potatoes! One of this important mineral’s main roles in the body is to produce collagen, which is the main component of connective tissues in the body and is vital for healthy ligaments, tendons, skin, eyes, bones, the gut and blood vessels.
“Cooking potatoes with their skin on is ideal, as peeling removes a large amount of fibre and minerals.” Diana Krisanski, clinical nutritionist.
Potato Health Benefit #3 – Potatoes contain good levels of fibre, magnesium and antioxidants:
That’s a big bunch of healthy benefits right there! Diana notes that “Potatoes contain antioxidants such as flavonoids, carotenoids and phenolic acids. Antioxidants are important in the diet to prevent the formation of cell-damaging free radicals. Studies show that antioxidants can prevent certain types of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.”
A baked potato with the skin accounts for around 11% of the daily recommended intake of magnesium, (depending on your age and gender). Another good reason to eat your spud with the skin on! Magnesium has many important functions for a healthy body including helping the nervous system to signal and communicate better, increasing energy levels and improving heart health, particularly for those experiencing high blood pressure. It may also assist in alleviating symptoms of insomnia, anxiety and depression.
Don’t forget the fibre! One potato with its skin provides 8% of the daily recommended intake of fibre.
“Boiling, steaming, oven baking and air frying are the best ways to prepare potatoes… Avoid pan and deep frying, even the ol’ favourite potato bake turns a good spud bad with lashings of cream and cheese bringing it down.” Diana Krisanski, clinical nutritionist.
Potato Health Benefit #4 – Potatoes are a great source of resistant starch:
“When people hear the word ‘starch’ they immediately think ‘unhealthy’, however this isn’t the case with resistant starches.” Diana tells us. Resistant starch functions like soluble, fermentable fibre. “It has been shown to stabilise blood sugar, improve digestive health, decrease inflammation and promote weight loss”. Resistant starch, as found in potatoes, is important for a healthy digestive system, as it is helpful in feeding both the friendly bacteria and the cells that line the colon. Resistant starch can reduce the PH levels and leads to several beneficial changes that should lower your risk of colorectal cancer, which is the fourth most common cause of cancer death worldwide.
“Resistant starch is a beneficial form of starch that is found in a variety of foods, but is highest in cooked and cooled white potatoes.” Diana Krisanski, clinical nutritionist – Nourishmint Health.
Potato Health Benefit #5 – Boiled white potatoes have the highest satiety rating:
You know that satisfied, full feeling you get after eating? Well, that’s called “satiety”, and potatoes are the best food for feeling full. Research has found that boiled white potatoes are number one in the satiety index. This means that you are more likely to feel full and satisfied, and perhaps less likely to crave a sweet dessert after potatoes for dinner! A food that makes you feel full, and is bursting with healthy nutrition? Say no more!
To summarise, potatoes have some great health benefits and contain significant levels of many essential vitamins and minerals, as well as being a good source of fibre and resistant starch. When prepared in the correct ways, the health benefits of potatoes shine through the bad rep they have been getting in the last few years.
Eating carbohydrates in moderate quantities can be beneficial if you are watching your weight. If you’re trying to eat a few less carbs, try the Zerella Fresh Spud Lite – Lite on carbs, Rite on taste!
To get some of the best health benefits of the potato, try this healthy potato salad recipe. The potatoes are served boiled and cooled, so you’re getting all that gut-friendly resistant starch. The dressing is low fat, containing no mayonnaise, cream or cheese, making it vegan friendly as well!
Diana Krisanski is a clinical nutritionist with a passion for health and wellbeing. She specialises in nutritional plans to promote healing and vitality, and can be contacted through her Facebook page, Diana Krisanski Nutrition, her Instagram page, nourishminthealth and can be found consulting in Henley Beach, South Australia.
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