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Should Potatoes Be Part of a Healthy Diet?

By Lana Bandoim

Potatoes get an equal amount of good and bad press. They get praise for having nutrients such as potassium and manganese. On the other hand, they get criticism for having too much starch. Should potatoes be part of a healthy diet? Consider these benefits and drawbacks to eating potatoes.

Potatoes Have Nutrients

It is easy to overlook the nutrient content of potatoes. However, they are an important source of potassium, manganese, fiber, Vitamin C and Vitamin B6. Many people do not get enough of these important nutrients in their diet, so potatoes provide an easy way to help them.

Potatoes Have Starch

The starch content in potatoes is high. One study found that eating potatoes leads to weight gain. Eating just one extra serving of potatoes every day can make losing weight more difficult. However, the type of potatoes that are consumed has a big impact on weight gain. For example, French fries and potato chips have more calories and fat than baked potatoes.

Potatoes Have Antioxidants

Research shows that potatoes have antioxidants such as flavonoids and carotenoids. Antioxidants fight free radical damage in the cells and help keep the body healthy. In addition, they may lower the risk of cancer. However, colorful potatoes such as the red and purple varieties tend to have more antioxidants than the white ones.

Potato Toppings Matter

The toppings that people use can make a big difference. Even a healthy baked potato can become bad after layers of cheese, sour cream and bacon bits are used to dress it up. Plain potatoes that are not fried are the best option for those on a diet. Pay attention to the toppings and avoid high-fat or high-calorie options.

Some of the worst toppings include butter, margarine, cheese and ranch dressing. Consider switching to olive oil, herbs and spices to dress up a potato. Other options include caramelized onions, chives, plain yogurt and sun-dried tomatoes. There are better alternatives that will not sabotage diets.

The Verdict

In general, research shows that potatoes can be part of a healthy diet in moderation. The key is not to overindulge in them. In addition, the way potatoes are prepared matters. Fried and greasy potatoes will lead to weight gain faster.

Potatoes can be part of a healthy diet, but they must be prepared the right way. Avoid French fries, potato chips and other unhealthy versions. Instead, focus on eating potatoes in moderation and switch to baking or broiling them.

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

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