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The Common Potato Is Healthier Than You May Think

By Paul Rothbart

The most common composition of a dinner is a protein, a vegetable, and a starch. More often than not, that starch is some form of potato. They are readily available and very versatile. They can be baked, boiled, or mashed. There are scalloped potatoes, potatoes au gratin, and french fried. Potatoes are also used as breakfast foods, as in home fries and hash browns. People consume a lot of potatoes. But are they nutritious? The truth is, they are healthier than you may think. Here are some of the health benefits of the humble potato.

Loaded With Nutrients

Potatoes contain significant amounts of essential nutrients. A baked potato has 4.3 grams of protein, 36.6 grams of carbs, and 3.8 grams of fiber. That same potato also contains more than a quarter of the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, and potassium. Niacin, folate, and manganese are other nutrients contained within that single baked potato. An important thing to keep in mind is that the skin of a potato contains a good amount of nutrition. Consider this before peeling them.

Antioxidants

Much is heard these days about antioxidants, compounds that help fight disease. Potatoes are rich in flavonoids, carotenoids, and phenolic acids. These compounds fight free radicals in the body. These harmful molecules attack cells and can increase the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Studies have shown that colored potatoes, such as purple, contain three to four times as many antioxidants as the white variety.

Improve Blood Sugar Control

Potatoes are starchy vegetables and they contain a special type called resistant starch. This starch is not broken down and absorbed by the body. It goes to the large intestine and provides nutrition for the healthy bacteria in your gut. Research has shown that resistant starch lowers insulin resistance, thus helping the body remove excess sugar from the blood. This reduces the risk of diabetes. By boiling potatoes and storing them in the refrigerator overnight, you can increase the content of resistant starch.

They Are Filling

Potatoes are incredibly filling food. This is helpful in maintaining a healthy weight as it curbs hunger and that cuts down on the urge to snack between meals. In a study of 11 people who were fed 38 different foods, potatoes were ranked as the most filling of all. Potatoes contain a protein called potato proteinase inhibitor 2, that research has shown can curb appetite. 

One of the most common side dishes, potatoes are versatile, tasty, and nutritious. Enjoy them cooked your favorite way and reap their many health benefits. 

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Memphis, Tenn.

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