Delicious and reliable, potatoes have been a cheap and popular side dish for centuries. Over the centuries, the potato has been transformed into many forms such as fries, chips, tots and mash. And although many spud preparations contain excess fat and sodium, the potato is a nutritious and versatile vegetable in its own right.

Eating potatoes improves cardio-metabolic health, helps control and improve weight Gut health and sports performance. Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t avoid the venerable potato and ways to add it to your diet.

Golden Roasted Potatoes with Rosemary.  (Simple Images / Getty Images)

Golden Roasted Potatoes with Rosemary. (Simple Images / Getty Images)

Potato nutrition facts

one A small potato has:

  • 135 calories

  • 3 grams of protein

  • 0 grams of fat

  • 30 grams of carbohydrates

  • 4 grams of fiber (11% Daily Value (DV))

  • 34 milligrams of vitamin C (37% DV)

  • 722 milligrams of potassium (15% DV)

Health benefits of eating potatoes

Potatoes are known for their carbohydrate content, which is why some low-carb diets avoid the root vegetable. But the benefits of eating potatoes should put your fears of carbohydrates to rest.

Potatoes are heart healthy.

This creamy tub is a good source of fiber, which is associated with a healthy heart. In fact, big Observational study More than 2,000 people who ate potatoes along with a high-exercise and low-red-meat diet had a 24 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes and a 26 percent lower risk of high triglycerides.

Potatoes help you control your weight

Potatoes are also a source of resistant starch – a type of carbohydrate that “resists” digestion. Resistant starch controls hunger, which helps in weight control. So it’s no surprise that it’s recent. Research It suggests eating potatoes to suppress appetite and short-term food intake. in addition, Research Pairing potatoes with protein, such as eggs, is proven to increase satiety and reduce short-term food intake.

Fried potatoes on a dark rustic table.  (pjohnson1/Getty Images)

Fried potatoes on a dark rustic table. (pjohnson1/Getty Images)

Potatoes are great for gut health.

Resistant starch also has a positive effect Gut health Implications a A little research Among 50 participants, consuming a potato-based side dish per day for 4 weeks slightly altered the composition and diversity of the gut microbiota. Research It also shows similar results in mice – the mice experienced inflammation and intestinal imbalance when fed potato resistant starch. More research is needed on this topic, but the results are promising.

Potatoes are full of nutrients

Potatoes are also a good source of potassium, which has the potential to lower blood pressure. A A small randomized controlled trial It looked at the effects of eating potatoes for 16 days in adults with pre-hypertension or high blood pressure. The authors of the study concluded that eating potatoes was associated with lower blood pressure. In other words, eating potatoes as part of a healthy diet plan can prevent high blood pressure.

Are there disadvantages to eating potatoes?

Potatoes get a bad rap because they are often served in the form of chips or fries. But whether or not the appearance of potatoes plays a role in health is debatable.

A A large observational study He found a relationship between potatoes in any form and high nutritional quality and increased nutrition. other Longitudinal study After following participants for 8 years, it was concluded that regular consumption of fried potatoes increased the risk of death. But since French fries are often part of fast food, it’s impossible to know if other unhealthy eating habits contributed to these results. French fries, chips, tater tots, and mashed potatoes are high in sodium, so it’s best to eat these foods in moderation.

Another concern with potatoes is their carbohydrate content. But according to the dietary guidelines, carbohydrates should contain 45-65% of calories, and eating them is inevitable. Connected. to obesity. The amount of carbohydrates in one potato is the same as two slices of bread and less than two ounces of pasta.

Interesting facts about potatoes

These fun tidbits are just a few more reasons to add potatoes to your shopping cart.

They fuel athletic performance

Because of their carbohydrate, potassium and protein content, potatoes have been linked to improved athletic performance. Since carbohydrates are the primary fuel for exercise, the potato has been extensively studied for its potential as a pre-workout fuel. A Research Comparing the efficacy of potato and energy gel during a time trial in cyclists. The results showed no difference between the groups, which shows that potatoes provide the same amount of energy as sports nutrition products.

Protein from potatoes has also been studied for its potential to stimulate muscle growth. Although the study is limited, one Small test It has been shown that consuming 30 grams of potato protein concentrate increases the rate of muscle protein synthesis in healthy young men. Potato protein powder is not widely available, but you may start to see it pop up in the future.

Finally, potassium is an electrolyte lost in sweat. Eating potatoes before exercise can reduce fluid loss and help keep you hydrated during exercise.

There are more than 200 types of potatoes

Although you may only see a few varieties of potatoes in the store, more than 200 are grown in the United States. Each breed fits into one of these categories: russet, red, white, yellow, blue/purple, finger and petite. They all have a slightly different texture and flavor, but each variety is versatile and delicious.

No matter what type you choose, store the potatoes in a cool, dark place, such as in the pantry. Storing potatoes in the refrigerator causes the starch to turn into sugar, which changes the taste and texture. Potatoes will stay fresh for several months in the refrigerator. If the potatoes start to sprout, remove the sprouts and cook as usual.

Freshly made potato salad.  (Fodio/Getty Images)

Freshly made potato salad. (Fodio/Getty Images)

Healthy potato recipes

In addition to the good old fried potato, there are many preparations for the soup. Whether you like your potatoes mashed, mashed, roasted, smothered in cheese or in a delicious salad, we’ve got the options. Next time you want to up your potato game, try some of these:

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