Potatoes — one of the most commonly eaten vegetables on the planet — has both fans and enemies.
Learn about the potato’s many health benefits, health concerns and its controversial effect on weight management.
With mixed emotions, I read that potatoes were on a list of most fattening foods.
I personally don’t like potatoes a lot, but thought it was because of being force-fed boiled potatoes every day as a child. Now I’m rethinking the potato.
Potato Health Benefits
1. Protection from Heart Disease and Cancer
Potatoes contain flavonoids. With protective antioxidant activity, flavanoids protect against cardiovascular disease, respiratory problems and certain cancers.
2. Rival Greens for Phenol Activity
They contain equal or higher amounts of certain phenols than broccoli, spinach or brussel sprouts.
3. High in B Vitamins for your Brain & Athletic Performance
One cup of baked potato contains 21 percent of the daily requirement for B6. B vitamins are essential for growth, your nervous system and cardiovascular health.
Potatoes also contain significant amounts of folic acid, which is essential for pregnant women.
4. Contain Resistant Starch
Many vegetables contain small amounts of resistant starch but potatoes that have been cooked and then cooled down have high amounts. Resistant starch’s benefits are similar to that of fiber, meaning you’ll stay fuller longer and with less calorie consumption.
Since resistant starch acts like fiber, it is either poorly digested or not digested at all. This lowers the glycemic index of potatoes, which is normally higher than white sugar, (averaging 70 – 110) down to reasonable levels of 25-72! Bring on the potato salad!
5. High in Vitamin C
Who would have thought! Vitamin C is the key to healthy skin.
“A man with half an acre of potatoes can grow enough food to keep his family alive for a year.” Michael Pollan
- Potatoes were developed in Central and South America 4000-7000 years ago by selective cultivation of an naturally poisonous tuber.
- The powerful Inca civilization was based on the potato. When the Spanish destroyed the Inca civilization they brought the potato to Europe.
- Potatoes changed the course of history in Europe by allowing northern countries with poor soils to produce enough food to feed larger populations.
The industrial revolution depended on the potato.
- The most common potato today is the Russet potato originally developed by Luther Burbank. Burbank was an amazing person who nearly had the ‘ability to talk to plants and went on to develop over 800 new varieties and species of plants.
- Monsanto’s GMOs were stopped in the potato industry. When the public discovered they were eating genetically modified potatoes at McDonald’s, public opinion called on McDonald’s to stop. This was one of the first major setback to GMOs in America.
Next Page: Potato Health and Weight Management Concerns