Potatoes 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Effects

Potato Nutrition Facts and Health Effects

The most common variety of potato is the yellow French or Russet (Solanum tuberosum). The other varieties include Red, Yukon Gold, and even Sweet Potato.

All these types have similar nutritional values but some are better than others when it comes to health effects. Let’s take a look at the different kinds of potatoes.

French or Russet Potatoes

These potatoes are native to France. They are known for their deep golden color, firm texture, and high starch content.

These potatoes contain more potassium than any other type of potato. Their low glycemic index makes them ideal for diabetics. French or Russet potatoes are usually used in baked goods such as pies, cakes, cookies and crackers.

Yukon Gold Potatoes

These potatoes originated from Canada and were introduced into the United States in 1869. They are very popular among children because they taste good and are easy to peel.

They contain less fat than other varieties of potatoes, which helps lower cholesterol levels. Because of their high fiber content, they are often added to soups and stews. They also provide a great source of dietary magnesium.

Red Potatoes

These potatoes are orange-red in color and contain more Vitamin C than any other type of potato. They contain more than twice the amount of Vitamin C than the average white potato.

They also contain good quantities of fiber, potassium and B6. These potatoes are often boiled, baked or mashed. They make a great addition to soup and stew recipes as well.

Sweet Potato

Originating in Central America, these tubers are orange on the inside and have a brown skin. They are quite nutritious and contain high amounts of Vitamin A, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid.

They also contain good quantities of fiber, copper, potassium, and manganese. These potatoes can be baked, boiled or mashed just like regular white potatoes. They can also be added to soup and stew recipes to add sweetness and nutrients.

Benefits of Potato

The potato is a great source of energy and a vital nutrient called potassium. It has zero fat, is low in sodium and has no cholesterol.

It is considered a healthy food when consumed in moderation. It can be boiled, baked, microwaved or mashed. They can be eaten by themselves or can be added to salads and sandwiches. They are versatile and have many health benefits.

High in Soluble Fiber

POTATOES ARE A GOOD SOURCE OF SOLUBLE FIBER. soluble fiber binds with water and takes a long time to digest.

Because it stays in the digestive system for a longer period of time, it provides a feeling of fullness and decreases the body’s absorption of cholesterol. This helps to lower blood cholesterol levels and reduces the risk of heart disease.

Potatoes are rich in Vitamin C

Vitamin C helps the body form collagen, which is an important structural component of bones, teeth, gums and blood vessels. It also acts as an anti-oxidant, which helps eliminate harmful free radicals from the body that can cause oxidative stress.

Low in Fat and Cholesterol

The potato only contains 1 to 5 percent less calories from fat than a banana. They have no cholesterol and very little saturated fat.

They contain no trans fat and very little unsaturated fat. This makes the potato a diet-friendly food that promotes heart health.

A Good Source of Starch

The carbohydrate in potatoes is starch, which is considered an excellent source of energy for all organs, especially the brain. Starch is a complex carbohydrate that breaks down slowly during digestion to release energy and avoid spikes in blood sugar levels.

This helps to regulate blood pressure and avoid energy slumps after eating.

Provides Fiber

Potatoes are a good source of dietary fiber. One medium sized potato contains 4 grams of fiber, which is 16 percent of the daily recommended value.

Fiber helps promote a healthy digestive tract and helps in the prevention of colon cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Low in Calories

The average medium-sized baked potato only contains 115 calories. It also contains small amounts of protein and fat.

A potato makes a healthy snack as it fills you up and is relatively low in calories.

Potatoes are Gluten-Free

The majority of potatoes available today do not contain gluten. This makes them a safe food choice for people with gluten intolerance.

Potatoes flour and starch are often used as gluten-free replacements in cooking and baking.

Good Source of Iron

Potatoes contain iron, which is important for the transportation of oxygen around the body via red blood cells. It is especially important for women as their monthly periods cause considerable blood loss.

Research has shown that a diet high in potatoes can increase the absorption of iron by up to 10 percent, when eaten with foods rich in vitamin C. Cheese, bacon and chili are all good examples of food that contain lots of vitamin C.

TIP: You can make mashed potatoes even healthier by replacing part of the milk or cream you add with mashed sweet potatoes. The sweet potatoes give them a delicious taste and added health benefits.

The Best Ways to Prepare Potato

There are so many ways you can cook and prepare potatoes. The best way, of course, is going to be the way that tastes best to you.

However, for the sake of your health and the overall nutritional value, you should consider baking, boiling and microwaving.

1. Baked potatoes are delicious and contain a low amount of calories.

One medium-sized potato contains around 230 calories. This is the equivalent of 2 slices of bread.

You can eat the skin, as this is where much of the fiber and nutrients are found. If preferred, you can remove the skin before eating or cooking. Some people even like to put butter on their skin!

2. Boiled potatoes lose some of their nutritional value, as this happens with most vegetables when we boil them.

Boiled potatoes still contain lots of nutrients and are very healthy overall. One medium potato contains around 150 calories.

3. The microwave is a fantastic way to cook potatoes quickly.

They can be ready to eat in as little as 3 minutes! You can add butter, salt, pepper or other seasonings of your choice.

When cooked in the microwave, potatoes retain more of their nutrition than when baked or boiled. An average sized potato contains around 150 calories.

Potato Facts

Here are some interesting facts about potatoes:

1. A medium-sized potato weighs around 5 ounces and around 10 inches in length.

2. There are over 4,000 varieties of potatoes grown around the world.

3. The average American eats around 80 pounds of potatoes per year.

4. The most popular potato in the United States, the Russet potato, is also known as the Idaho baking potato.

5. As a foodstuff, the potato dates back to around 8,000 BC in the mountainous regions of South America.

6. It took nearly 3,000 years before the potato made its way into Northern Europe.

It wasn’t until the mid-16th century that potatoes were commonly eaten in England and considered a food for the lower class.

7. Thomas Jefferson planted potatoes at Monticello in 1781.

He also praised the nutritional value of potatoes in a letter to France.

8. Each potato contains around 80 to 90% water.

9. It takes around 10 pounds of potatoes to produce 1 pound of dehydrated flakes.

10. Olive oil, onions and garlic are healthy additions to potatoes that can increase their antioxidant content.

11. Two medium sized potatoes will satisfy your daily requirement for vitamin C.

12. The calorie content of a potato varies depending on the size and how it is prepared.

A small potato, baked, contains around 110 calories, while a large potato, mashed, contains around 280 calories (this is roughly the same as one 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola).

13. Some studies have suggested potatoes can help to prevent certain types of cancer.

14. One medium-sized potato contains 0.4mg of Vitamin B6, over 15% of your daily requirement.

15. In the United States, around 1 billion pounds of potatoes are discarded every year, and most are from restaurants.

This is equivalent to $1 billion worth of food.

16. In Great Britain, a 10-year-old girl once found the winner of a £9 million lottery ticket in the lining of her jacket, which she had been wearing when she helped her mother cook a paella made with potatoes.

17. The largest potato recorded weighed in at around 22 pounds.

It was found in the United Kingdom in 1851.

18. In the United States, the average person will consume 113 pounds of potatoes per year.

19. October is National Potato Month and National French Fried Potato Month.

20. A medium-sized potato contains 30% of your daily requirement for vitamin C.

21. The world’s largest potato chip mosaic was constructed in North Liberty, Iowa, in 2006.

It was made up of 55,000 individual chips and the design was a picture of the Earth.

What’s The Best Way To Cook A Potato?

There are many ways to cook a potato. Everyone has his or her own favorite method – some of the more common ways to cook a potato include baking, boiling, microwaving and frying. Some of these methods are better than others – a baked potato is probably the best way to cook a potato if you want to retain most of the nutritional value that is present in an uncooked potato.

However, many people eat potatoes in the form of chips (french fries) or mashed potatoes, so these methods are also popular.

Here’s a quick look at each of the four main ways of cooking a potato:

1. Baking

This is the healthiest and most nutritious method of cooking a potato. It’s also the simplest.

All you need to do is wash the potato, poke holes in it (to prevent it exploding), and then bake it in the oven at around 400 degrees for around an hour. If you want to add flavor, you can sprinkle salt, pepper, garlic powder, or any other spice before you cook it.

The baked potato is most popularly eaten with butter, cheese, or even steak toppings. It’s commonly eaten in the United States and is a satisfying meal which can be eaten at any time of the day.

2. Boiling

This is the simplest way to cook a potato. It only requires that you add the potato to boiling water, and then simmer for around ten minutes (more if the potato is larger).

To improve taste you can add salt or other spices to the water before you begin cooking. Once it is done, you can skin the potato if necessary and then eat it.

Baked potatoes are commonly boiled in New Zealand.

3. Frying

This is the least healthy way of cooking a potato and also the most delicious! To Fry a potato, slice it into thin pieces (around one sixteenth of an inch thick) and heat some cooking oil or fat (like butter or margarine) in a pan until it’s very hot.

Then add the potatoes to the pan and fry them for around five minutes on each side or until they are golden brown in color.

Fried potatoes can be eaten on their own, with meat, or with vegetables. They taste delicious and are a great addition to any meal.

4. Microwaving

This is the quickest way of cooking a potato – just pierce the skin of the potato several times with a fork and then cook for around eight minutes (or more or less, depending on the size of your potato). Once it is done, you can skin it if necessary and then eat it.

Pierce the skin of the potato with a fork several times before cooking.

Potatoes are truly nutritious and delicious. They deserve to be eaten more widely throughout the world!

How to Peel a Potato Quickly

Many people find that potatoes have an uncomfortable texture to them, as well as an unpleasant taste that can often overwhelm the flavor of other food stuffs. This texture and taste can frequently be unpleasant enough to prevent people from eating potatoes at all.

If you don’t like the taste of raw potatoes then you might want to try peeling them first as this can often improve the flavor and texture. You can peel a potato quickly and easily using the following steps:

1. Get a medium-sized bowl and fill it with water.

2. Add the potato to the water.

3. Swirl the potato around with your hand so that the skin begins to come off.

4. Remove the skin from the water and then repeat steps 2-4 until all of the skin is removed from the potato.

This method should allow you to quickly and easily peel potatoes for whatever it is that you want to cook. Remember that you can apply this method to other types of vegetables as well.

How to Cook Them

After learning how to grow potatoes and learning how to store them, you’re probably wondering how to cook them! Luckily, cooking potatoes is very easy, and there are a lot of different recipes that you can try.

The specific type of recipe that you choose will typically be determined by personal preference, but there are also health factors that should be taken into account.

For example, deep fried potatoes are considered to be a delicious treat for many people. However, they are also one of the unhealthiest foods that you can eat, mainly because of all of the grease that is used to cook them.

Roasted or baked potatoes, on the other hand, are extremely healthy and a good source of nutrients.

Whether you like your potatoes roasted, mashed, or fried, there is a recipe out there for you.

Sources & references used in this article:

Potatoes for Human Health: Effects of Cultivar and Processing on Nutritional Composition of White-and Color-fleshed Potatoes by LE Markham – 2015 – etda.libraries.psu.edu

Potatoes and human health by ME Camire, S Kubow, DJ Donnelly – … in food science and nutrition, 2009 – Taylor & Francis

Acrylamide in food: analysis, content and potential health effects by V Gökmen – 2015 – books.google.com

Potatoes, nutrition and health by KA Beals – American Journal of Potato Research, 2019 – Springer