7 Reasons Why You Should Eat More Potatoes

Potatoes are packed with nutrients and wellness benefits.

Different types of potatoes..

(lamboiuana / Shutterstock.com)

Potatoes are a popular food and people enjoy eating them baked, fried, boiled and this highly versatile root vegetable can be used in almost anything. But is eating potatoes good for you?

The answer is yes, according to Health, potatoes can be a healthy choice if they are prepared correctly. Even French fries – America’s fast-food staple – can be prepared in a healthier way, by baking instead of deep-fat frying.

There are a variety of types of potatoes that can easily be found in your supermarket. Russet potatoes contain the most starch and are best for baking. Red potatoes are sweeter and have less starch. Yellow potatoes have a rich, almost buttery flavor and can be used in most dishes. Other types include new or baby potatoes, fingerling, and blue-or-purple-colored potatoes that can dress up a dish.

Packed full of nutrition
Potatoes are a complex carb that is loaded with fiber and highly nutritious. Healthline recommends that you not peel potatoes since that will reduce the nutritional content.

One medium potato contains 4.3 grams of protein and 3.8 grams of fiber. Potatoes are also an excellent source of vitamins and minerals including Vitamins C and B6, niacin, folate, potassium, manganese, magnesium, and phosphorus.

Contains antioxidants
Potatoes are rich in healthy plant compounds like flavonoids, carotenoids and phenolic acids that are powerful antioxidants which protect your body from cell oxidation that comes from free radicals. This could help reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. A 2016 study published in Preventive Nutrition and Food Science, found that the dark-colored potatoes contain three to four times the antioxidants of white ones.

Promotes heart health 
The fiber, potassium, and vitamin C content of potatoes helps support heart health, according to Medical News Today.  Fiber can help to lower the amount of cholesterol in your blood and that in turn decreases the risk of heart disease. Potassium also helps to lower your blood pressure because it encourages vasodilation (the widening of blood vessels).

Strengthens bones
Eating potatoes also contributes to bone health. That’s because the iron, phosphorous, zinc, calcium, and magnesium that potatoes contain help your body to build bone strength and structure. But these minerals have to be balanced. Having too much phosphorus and too little calcium can result in bone loss and osteoporosis.

Good for your gut
The resistant starch – that is mostly converted to the fatty acid butyrate – in potatoes could also help your gut, according to Healthline. That’s because when this type of starch reaches your large intestines it becomes a food for good gut bacteria. Butyrate also helps to reduce inflammation of the colon and could reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. It may also aid people with inflammatory bowel disorders like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Aids in blood sugar control
The resistant starch in potatoes may also reduce insulin resistance and improve your blood sugar control. That’s because resistant starch is very efficient at removing excess blood sugar after eating. In a clinical trial published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that participants who were fed 30 grams of resistant starch daily for a four-week period showed a 33 percent reduction of insulin resistance. This is very important for people with type 2 diabetes.

Potatoes are gluten-free. The amount of people switching to a gluten-free diet is increasing and potatoes can be an important part of this diet which includes eliminating wheat, spelt, barley, and rye, according to Healthline. Potato flour can be used to make gluten-free bread and other baked goods. But make sure to check the ingredients of commercially baked goods to make sure that products like potato bread are truly gluten-free.

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