Potatoes are a versatile root vegetable and a staple food in many households.
They are an underground tuber that grows on the roots of the Solanum tuberosum plant(1Trusted Source).
Potatoes are relatively cheap, easy to grow and packed with a variety of nutrients.
Here are 7 health and nutrition benefits of potatoes.
1. Packed With Nutrients
Potatoes are an excellent source of many vitamins and minerals.
One medium baked potato (6.1 ounces or 173 grams), including the skin, provides (2):
Fat: 0.2 grams
Protein: 4.3 grams
Carbs: 36.6 grams
Fiber: 3.8 grams
Vitamin C: 28% of the RDI
Vitamin B6: 27% of the RDI
Potassium: 26% of the RDI
Manganese: 19% of the RDI
Magnesium: 12% of the RDI
Phosphorus: 12% of the RDI
Niacin: 12% of the RDI
Folate: 12% of the RDI
The nutritional content of potatoes can vary depending on the variety and how they are prepared. For example, frying potatoes adds more calories and fat than baking them.
2. Contain Antioxidants
Potatoes are rich in compounds like flavonoids, carotenoids and phenolic acids.
These compounds act as antioxidants in the body by neutralizing potentially harmful molecules known as free radicals. When free radicals accumulate, they can increase the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes and cancer .
3. May Improve Blood Sugar Control
Potatoes contain a special type of starch known as resistant starch.
This starch is not broken down and fully absorbed by the body. Instead, it reaches the large intestine where it becomes a source of nutrients for the beneficial bacteria in your gut.
4. May Improve Digestive Health
The resistant starch in potatoes may also improve digestive health.
When resistant starch reaches the large intestine, it becomes food for beneficial gut bacteria. These bacteria digest it and turn it into short-chain fatty acids.
5. Naturally Gluten-Free
The gluten-free diet is one of the most popular diets worldwide. It involves eliminating gluten, which is a family of proteins found in grains like spelt, wheat, barley and rye.
6. Incredibly Filling
Aside from being nutritious, potatoes are also incredibly filling.
In one study, 11 people were fed 38 common foods and asked to rate foods based on how filling they were. Potatoes received the highest fullness rating of them all.
In fact, potatoes were rated as being seven times more filling than croissants, which were ranked as the least filling food item.
7. Extremely Versatile
Not only are potatoes healthy, but they are also delicious and versatile.
Potatoes can be prepared in many ways, including boiled, baked and steamed. However, frying potatoes may dramatically increase their calorie content if you use a lot of oil.