You’ve probably heard a lot of bad things about potatoes when it comes to health. People will say that they are loaded with carbs and starch, they make you fat and they shouldn’t be included in your diet. Potatoes certainly get a bad reputation, yet they are still among the most popular foods around the world. They are easy to find, incredibly cheap and to be honest, most of us think that they taste great no matter how you prepare them.
But before you get to thinking that you should be avoiding potatoes as part of a healthy diet, think again. There are actually many different health benefits that potatoes have that you should know about. So how should you be eating potatoes, how many should you eat and what they can do for you? Here are some of the great proven health benefits that you get from the common potato.
So is it true that potatoes have a lot of carbohydrates? Sure, as there are 36 grams of carbs in each medium sized baked potato. There are a lot of other nutrients in potatoes that are going to help you out, though. That same serving size will get you 15 percent of your daily recommended amount of fiber. Not only that, potatoes are very high in vitamin B6 and vitamin C with more than 25 percent of your recommended value. Other great vitamin contents include niacin, folate, thiamin, vitamin K and riboflavin.
Each potato has plenty of minerals to go along with those vitamins. You can get 26 percent of your recommended potassium value, while getting more than 10 percent of your values of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper and manganese. You’re also getting a solid amount of protein in each potato, and not a single speck of cholesterol to be found, so the carbs are a nice trade-off for some great nutrition.
Weight loss, really? It’s true, replacing some of the foods you eat with potatoes are able to help you lose weight. Let’s say that every time you were eating french fries before, you swap it out for a baked potato, you are going to save yourself a couple hundred calories. That alone should allow you to lose weight, but that’s not all. Studies have shown that reducing overall calorie intake while still incorporating baked potatoes into your diet regularly will not slow down your weight loss, even with the perceived fear of carbs.
Potatoes also help as a replacement to other snacks and foods because of their fiber content. With 15 percent of your recommended intake, you are going to feel more full and avoid the cravings for the unhealthy versions of potatoes. As long as you keep them baked, potatoes have an incredible weight loss benefit. If you are desperate to gain weight, eating more potatoes is a good healthy way to do that without the cholesterol.
Potatoes are loaded with antioxidants, especially when you leave the skin on. Even many vegetables with better reputations like carrots don’t have the same amount of antioxidants. This, in turn, will allow your body to take out more free radicals and prevent diseases. Diseases such as cancer start out because of free radicals damaging cells, so make sure to leave the skin on and bake that potato for the loaded benefits.
Even diseases like scurvy have been curbed by potatoes because of the vitamin C content. This was actually very common during the World Wars as potatoes were readily available to eat compared to most foods. They also provided a quick boost of energy without costing a lot of money.
Good For the Bones
Potatoes are a great source of calcium, potassium and manganese, which will allow you bones to be healthier and stronger overall. The manganese levels in baked potatoes have been shown to avoid bone loss and other diseases. Potatoes will also help people that already have bone problems such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Since potatoes are loaded with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, you will experience less pain from swelling in your joints. Not many people think about eating a healthy amount of potassium, though eating more potatoes can help you get to that point.
While some people believe that eating more potatoes would lead to high blood pressure, that’s only true if you’re inhaling french fries on a daily basis. Studies have shown that raw or baked potatoes will actually help your blood pressure, lowering it by nearly five percent in patients without experiencing weight gain. A lot of this had to do with the high level of potassium in each potato.
Potatoes will also help you control your cholesterol levels, thanks to the fiber and vitamins. There is no fat or cholesterol in each baked potato, and the antioxidants prevent inflammation that can lead to higher cholesterol levels. Studies show that you can lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels by eating more baked potatoes, swapping out the fried foods.
The potato might not be the most beautiful looking food out there, but it can help you look better on the outside. Potatoes are loaded with vitamin C, helping your skin to become more hydrated and looking younger. Many people even use potato juice or crushed up potatoes as a skin care product.
Using that potato juice helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles while also healing problems such as scratches or burns. You can also clear out your acne and remove blackheads with potato based skin products. This doesn’t mean you have to smash a baked potato on your face, but you can eat it or use the juice to get the benefits.
Summing it Up
Potatoes are a staple of a hearty diet, especially here in the United States. Hopefully knowing all of these benefits of the potato removes some of the stigma, especially if you have been trying low carb diets for a long time. So the big question is are the negatives of eating potatoes?
As long as you are sticking to baked potatoes and controlling your portions, there really aren’t many negatives. You have to make sure that they are not sprouting, and you should be good to go. Just stay away from the fried versions like french fries of potato chips, as those that eat them regularly have been scientifically proven to gain several pounds per year. Even though those versions can taste better, you have to avoid them for your health.
So before you throw that big bag of potatoes in the garbage, wash them off and throw them in the oven. The skin has a lot of benefits while the inside is tasty and filling. Just take it easy on the butter when you bake that potato.