13 Health Benefits of Potatoes
You say potato, I say a powerhouse of nutrients! One of the most common ingredients in meals is, thankfully, one of the most nutritious. Widely appreciated as one of the healthiest foods on the planet, you should never underestimate the power of potatoes. No matter if you choose their regular (white), sweet or red variety, your body will benefit from countless goodies if you prepare them properly. When hearing these facts, many people are apprehensive about the healthy impact of potatoes on the human body. This is due to their frequent association with French fries and, generally speaking, potatoes cooked in oil. However, if you bake potatoes, especially with their skin still on, you really will enjoy all of their amazing benefits and more. Potatoes are high in nutrients like Vitamin C, Vitamin B 6, Potassium and dietary fibers, and have some mind-blowing stats regarding fat (we are saving that for a little bit further on). So if you are curious about how they can help you lead a healthier life, discover these X health benefits of potatoes below!
1. Potassium Power
Multiple sources report that just one potato (medium size) with its kin on contains a whopping 620 milligrams of potassium, even more than a banana! This means that you get an amazing 25% of your daily recommended value of potassium just from one single potato. We all know that fruits and vegetables, as sources for nutrients, can become expensive, but the good news is that potatoes are the most accessible potassium powerhouse in the entire supermarket. Potassium is a wondrous nutrient for the body and can help with various conditions and problems, which you will find out more about below.
2. Awesome Antioxidants
Antioxidants are critical for your body, in order to protect your cells from any unwanted problems. The skin of potatoes contains quercetin, a very strong antioxidant that your body requires to maintain cell health and prevent fatal diseases. In addition to this, antioxidants are highly important for maintaining skin health; thanks to the huge amounts of Vitamin C in potatoes (an amazing 70% of the daily recommended amount in one medium potato!), you can keep your skin clean, healthy and far away from troubles. Owing to the antioxidants found in potatoes, your body can battle free radicals.
3. Bone Boost
If you are currently young, you might not be aware of the importance of bone health. Believe us, later on in life you will understand. In order to prevent aching bones and other painful problems at an older age, consider incorporating more baked potatoes into your diet (but keep the frying pan far away). Another health benefit of potatoes is their power to maintain super hero bones, thanks to their calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, zinc, and iron content. The last two substances also greatly promote the production of collagen, so your skin will be very pleased, as well.
4. Conquer Constipation
Even though we avoid openly discussing this issue, we all know how nightmare-ish constipation can be. We usually don’t take this side effect into consideration when combining foods we should not, eating too much or too fast. But after an hour or two we definitely feel its wrath. Another awesome fact about potatoes is that they can help you stop constipation from occurring, owing to their trusted dietary fibers (roughly 4.7 grams in one medium potato, equivalent to 18% of your daily recommended value). Aid your digestion by eating potatoes instead of other side dishes that could cause constipation.
5. Best of B6
You are probably aware by now of the significance Vitamin B6 has for your body (and if you don’t, you really should). Possibly our favorite fact about potatoes is that they have lots and lots of Vitamin B6, precisely 30% of the amount you should get daily (from just 1 potato!). According to Medical News Today, “Vitamin B-6 prevents the buildup of a compound known as homocysteine. When excessive amounts of homocysteine accumulate in the body, it can damage blood vessels and lead to heart problems.” What are you waiting for? Get healthy amounts of Vitamin B6 with potatoes!
Yep, that is quite a representative number for potatoes. Before you start wondering how “zero” could be beneficial when talking about nutrients and health benefits, you should know that it refers to fat, cholesterol and sodium levels. You heard us right! Potatoes literally contain zero amounts of the three factors mentioned above, which means that you are protecting your body from harm just a little bit more. On the down side, potatoes also contain no Vitamin A, Vitamin D or Vitamin B 12, but you know you can’t have everything. Never the less, potatoes make up for their high levels in lots of other delightful nutrients.
7. Happy Heart
Like we mentioned above, when talking about Vitamin B6, potatoes are great for protecting your heart from disease. You can avoid cardiovascular issues simply by using potatoes in your meals cooked at home, but remember to bake them, not fry them. Aside from Vitamin B6, the Vitamin C in potatoes that acts as a reliable antioxidant also promotes the health and happiness of your heart. Even more so, the dietary fibers that potatoes contain are another reason for your heart to be booming with glee, as they also protect it in a natural way. Stay far, far away from strokes, potential heart attacks and other life threatening heart problems simply by eating more potatoes.
8. Combat Cancer
It might seem hard to believe that such a basic, everyday ingredient could help your body stay away from cancer. You’d better start believing, because the antioxidants in potatoes have exactly that role; to prevent you from developing cancer. The source cited above, Medical News Today, also adds that “potatoes contain folate, which plays a role in DNA synthesis and repair, thus preventing the formation of cancer cells from mutations in the DNA”. It is believed that potatoes are particularly good for decreasing the risk of developing colorectal cancer, so rethink your shopping list and what you want to cook for dinner tonight.
9. Magnificent Metabolism
Remember the super duper Vitamin B6 we kept describing enthusiastically earlier? Another reason to rejoice is that it gives your metabolism the ultimate boost! Potatoes can help out your metabolism by transforming carbs into glucose and proteins into amino acids, so your body can take advantage of the energy offered by them better. We all know that a healthy metabolism is key to staying and shape and feeling great, so take this aspect into consideration when deciding whether you should eat potatoes today or not.
10. Balance Blood Pressure
The high levels of potassium in potatoes play a key role in maintaining healthy blood pressure levels and keep them from increasing out of control. Another detail that contributes to decreasing high blood pressure is the low (virtually zero) amount of sodium in potatoes, but also the magnesium and calcum content in them. Nutritionist Victoria Jarzabkowski from the University of Texas explains for Live Science that “the fiber found in potatoes can help lower cholesterol by binding with cholesterol in the blood. […] After it binds, we excrete it.”
11. Brain Boost
Who would have ever thought that potatoes can help you steer clear of depression and even cope with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)? Vitamin 6 is yet again the “culprit” in this situation, as it boosts the substances that are good for the brain, like norepinephrine, serotonin or dopamine. Some other studies support the fact that the carbs in potatoes positively affect the blood’s glucose levels and can lead to stronger memory and enhanced learning skills. Even though you won’t become a genius by eating potatoes, you will certainly be helping your brain just a little bit more than you do on a regular basis.
12. Impenetrable Immunity
Generally speaking, if you are prone to colds, coughs and basically being sick, this means that you might be experiencing immunity problems. These issues occur most of the time when your body is not getting all of the nutrients it needs, or it is not getting them in the amounts it needs. Potatoes come to the rescue with their huge backpack of Vitamin C, known as one of the best nutrients for building up immunity and staying far away from illnesses. Don’t forget that a medium sized potato contains more than half the daily recommended amount of Vitamin C for you!
13. Electrolytes & Energy
We were saving the best for last (well, at least one of the best). Imagine how your drag would drag on if you had no energy? We have all experienced those days at schools or the office when you literally feel lifeless and you can’t concentrate on any task. Most of the time, this is due to a lack of energy. As your body gets its energy from carbohydrates, potatoes are a reliable choice for sources of carbs and, subsequently, energy. Last but not least, the potassium and sodium in potatoes are indispensable for your balance of electrolytes, which we tend to lose by sweating. If you are an athlete or if you frequently undergo physical activity, now you know what to eat to keep that energy going!