We have come to rely on potatoes as a comfort food; they have become a very popular part of our meals.
Potatoes have gained a reputation as being fattening, but studies have shown that you don’t have to gain weight eating them. Potatoes have some surprising health benefits such as helping with weight loss, lowering blood pressure and much more. How are potatoes good for you?
Lowers Blood Pressure and Risk of Heart Disease
Eating potatoes with their skins, prepared without oil once or twice every day can reduce high blood pressure. In a study of 18 individuals with high blood pressure, participants supplemented their anti-hypertensive high blood pressure drugs with 6 to 8 purple potatoes with skins twice a day for a month. None of them gained weight and blood pressure significantly decreased.
Moderate Help with Weight Loss
In a study, 90 overweight men and women added 5 to 7 servings of potatoes to their diet per week. Results showed a modest amount of weight loss among participants. Fiber in a diet is an important factor in weight loss because it keeps you full for longer.
In a 2011 study potatoes were found to reduce inflammation, which can be the cause of many major diseases.
Related: Inflammation: The Slow Silent Killer
May Help Prevent Colon Cancer
Eating purple potatoes may reduce the risk of colon cancer according to a study published by the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.
Help with Digestion and Regularity
There is good fiber content in potatoes, especially the skin. We know that fiber helps prevent constipation and keeps the digestive tract healthy. These health benefits don’t work if they are greasy French fries or potato chips. A baked potato would work but not if it has added butter, sour cream, melted cheese or bacon bits. Some things to consider about potatoes:
Dangers of Processed Potato Products
Potatoes processed with fat at a high temperature, the way potato chips and French fries are, produce acrylamide. Studies have found acrylamide may cause cancer, according to The National Cancer Institute. Also, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) data on acrylamide levels say that baked chips may contain way more acrylamide as regular chips. Baked potatoes or boiled ones are not a concern when it comes to acrylamide.
Potatoes are in the Nightshade Family
Potatoes are one of the vegetables that belong to the nightshade family, which includes eggplant, tomatoes and bell peppers. If you are sensitive to nightshades, they could trigger inflammation in the body and contribute to arthritis. There are no scientific studies to confirm this, but many health professionals have made the observation that some people are sensitive to nightshade produce. It has been suggested that this sensitivity to nightshades is a unique sensitivity to solanine.
This is a type of medication commonly prescribed for heart disease. It can cause potassium levels to increase in the blood. High-potassium foods like potatoes should be consumed in moderation when taking beta-blockers.
Potatoes are sprayed 5 or more times throughout the growing season to protect against various pests. After harvesting, another round of spraying occurs in the packing shed to ward off mold. Every year they show up on the Dirty Dozen list by the Environmental Working Group. Even after they are washed, pesticide residues remain, so it’s important to always buy organic potatoes.
A 5.5 ounce potato flesh has
- 145 calories
- 34 grams of carbohydrates
- 3 grams of protein
- 3 grams of sugar
- 2 grams of fiber.
- 8 milligram of calcium
A 2 ounce potato skin has
- 115 calories
- 27 grams of carbs
- 2.5 grams of protein
- less than 1 gram of sugar
- 4.6 grams of fiber
- 20 milligrams of calcium
It’s important to consume the skin of the potato in addition to the flesh as it will give you extra nutrients.
For more information: Calories and Macronutrients
Time to eat potatoes in a healthy way and reap the benefits.