Potatoes have something of a bad reputation, especially the white ones, but in reality this nutritional powerhouse is unfairly characterized. Sure, it is not very healthy to eat fried potatoes – as in French fries or potato chips – but other methods of preparation afford incredible health benefits. Read on to find out what happens if you ignore the hype and eat potatoes every day.
1. Your diet will be more nutritionally complete
Part of the reason potatoes are demonized is their white color. This is a part of a backlash against foods that are packed with refined white flour, but it doesn’t apply to vegetables the same way. In reality, white veggies are good for you. You should be eating produce of every color in order to have a nutritionally complete diet, so avoiding potatoes (and cauliflower) just doesn’t make sense. White vegetables in particular offer nutrients that many people don’t get enough of.
2. You will save money
Potatoes offer a great bang for your buck, and are second only to beans in terms of nutrition per penny spent. They are the most cost-effective source of potassium around, and also provide essential fiber, magnesium, and vitamins C, E, and K. Potatoes are quite filling and almost infinitely customizable, so you can feel good about making them a staple at your family’s dinner table.
3. You will be healthier
In April 2012, the University of Washington debunked the myth that potatoes make you sick and fat. No association was found between potato consumption and obesity, diabetes, or levels of C-reactive protein that indicates chronic inflammation. Even before that study, in 2010 the executive director of the Washington State Potato Commission sought to put his belly where his wallet is with an experiment in which he ate only potatoes for 60 days.
As a result, he lost 21 pounds and lowered his blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
4. You may lose weight
Obviously, a lot depends on what else you are eating besides potatoes, but they can be an excellent addition to a weight loss diet. The University of California, Davis ran a study in which three groups of participants were assigned diets that contained between five and seven servings of potatoes per week. That means that one of the groups ate potatoes every day.
All participants were closely monitored for compliance, and all three of the groups lost weight. So whether potatoes actually contribute to weight loss or simply don’t cause weight gain, their reputation as fattening is undeserved.
5. You will grocery shop less often
Potatoes have a long shelf life of two to three weeks on average, as long as they are stored in a cool, dark place.
No other type of produce can match that, except maybe apples, making it hard to really stock up on fresh veggies. But potatoes can be a great go-to when your other veggies have gone off or you haven’t had a moment to run to the store.
6. You’ll get a great nutrient boost for relatively few calories
White potatoes are highly nutritious, especially if you eat the skin. For around 110 calories and 2 grams of sugar, you get more potassium than offered by a banana or broccoli, plus 35% of your daily vitamin C. Potatoes are a good source of fiber and naturally free of fat, sodium, and cholesterol. Sweet potatoesedge out white in terms of nutrition, with a good amount of fiber as well as protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese, and many other vitamins and minerals. Purple potatoes are especially full of antioxidants and may also help to lower blood pressure.
7. You will help the economy
Potatoes are a cash cow for farmers, so to speak. In 2010, the U.S. exported upwards of $3.8 billion worth of potatoes, which doesn’t even take into account the domestic consumption. Potatoes are ranked at the fourth most widely consumed veggie worldwide, and their production supports the economy in 30 U.S. states.
8. You will fight less with your children at dinner
Encouraging our children to eat more vegetables is an ongoing battle. Kids have more taste buds than adults and literally taste things differently, which is why so many of them are picky eaters. But potatoes are very mild in flavor and can be dressed up hundreds of different ways.
If you are struggling to get enough nutrition into your children, try adding a few more servings of potatoes to their diets.
9. You will gain a better understanding of the glycemic index
Many people have steered clear of potatoes due to their high rating on the glycemic index, which is a measure of the carbohydrate content of food. Foods that are high on the glycemic index tend to be digested more quickly and consequently raise blood sugar levels faster. But though potatoes have a high rating of 100 based on their carbohydrate content, they also contain fiber that helps to slow digestion. For comparison’s sake, a slice of chocolate cake has an index rating of 38, but no one would argue that it is a healthier choice.
10. You will get super creative in the kitchen
Now that you’re set on adding more potato to your diet, you may be curious about different ways to prepare it. Go ahead and Google “potato recipes” – we got over 4 million choices in less than a second. But once you start experimenting with existing recipes, we bet you will get inspired to write your own recipes based on the flavors your family loves. Potatoes are an excellent base for just about any seasoning.