Potatoes Can Be Delicious AND Nutritious
With Thanksgiving just days away, I thought I would look at some of the benefits of potatoes. They get a bad rap from some people, but when you look a little closer, you'll see they have some great health benefits too.
Here's the deal. We've heard for years about how bad potatoes are for us. How they're fattening, spike our blood sugar, and are generally bad for us.
Well, I'm here to make a stand in defense of the lowly spud. But, it turns out, what's fattening about potatoes are all the toppings we put on them.
Of course, we aren't advocating eating only "naked potatoes," or I wouldn't include many potato recipes on my site. However, sometimes you need some sour cream on a potato!
What I'm advocating is the fact that potatoes, when cooked in healthful ways and as a part of a well-balanced diet, are a nutrition powerhouse.
Be sure to check out my recipe for best-mashed potatoes here.
Consider the following:
- For the number of calories you get from a medium (3-4 inch) baking potato (about 280), you get 6 grams of fiber, half of which is soluble. This means it's good for your heart and can help you lower your cholesterol.
- While potatoes contain a lot of starch, a portion is resistant to digestion by stomach enzymes. This resistant starch behaves similarly to fiber. As a result, it makes you feel full longer; it offers protection against colon cancer, improves glucose tolerance and can lower triglycerides. So see: not all carbs are bad for you!
- Potatoes contain just about every nutrient you need, except for Vitamin A (so make sure you eat your sweet potatoes, too).
- Potatoes are rich in Vitamin C, although the cooking process destroys much of it.
- One baked potato gives you ⅕ of the Vitamin B6 you need for the whole day. Vitamin B6 is essential for proper digestion.
- Potatoes are a good source of potassium while being low in sodium. This helps to regulate your blood pressure.
- Potatoes are almost completely fat-free, but they are a good source of protein. If you're a vegetarian, eating potatoes can help you get the protein you need without having to eat animal products.
- Because of their relatively high fiber content, eating potatoes with the skin on will not cause blood sugar to spike significantly, which concerns those with Diabetes or insulin resistance. New potatoes, in particular, rate medium, not high on the Glycemic Index.
- Since most of the nutrients in the potato are found in the skin, it is best to leave them unpeeled to enjoy the maximum health benefits.
- Pretty impressive, huh?
Now, you can feel good about eating potatoes. Just hold the sour cream every once in a while, and the potato can be your friend again!