If potatoes are one of your favorite foods, you’re not alone.
Whether you make them mashed, baked, roasted, or even fried, they're a true comfort food. They’re so tasty and filling that it’s easy to think that they’re unhealthy.
Here’s the good news: potatoes can be a healthy addition to your diet.
In fact, if you’re an athlete, potatoes are a great choice of carbs for extra energy.
When you go to the market you’ll see potatoes of many colors.
In reality, there are only two basic types: white and sweet.
The benefits you get from eating them depends on the type of potato you pick. You can choose which is right for you by reading about the different nutrients they offer below. Better yet, choose both and get all the benefits!
White potatoes have many vitamins and minerals. They’re a great source of fiber too.
They also contain antioxidants that can help your body fight inflammation and stress.
When we call a potato white, we’re comparing it to a sweet potato. There are many different colors and types of potato that fall into the “white” category. They include:
- Common white
All the white potatoes contain compounds called phenols that fight degenerative diseases. The red and purple potatoes have the highest levels of these compounds.
The Purple Peruvian potato has the highest levels of phenols.Tweet
This's because they contain anthocyanins, the same flavonoid found in superfoods like blueberries and blackberries.
Potatoes that have white, yellow, or red skins have high levels of Vitamin C and Vitamin B6. They’re also high in potassium.
Not only is the flesh of white potatoes good for you, the skins are too. Potato skins contain both antioxidants and fiber.
One of the biggest problems with white potatoes is that they are normally served up with loads of cheese, butter and sour cream.
If you want to enjoy them and still mind your waistline, skip the cheese and opt for roasted garlic and chives for flavor and swap sour cream for Greek yogurt.
These are my go-to potatoes because they are lower on the GI Index than their white cousins. If you are focusing on weight loss, these should be your first choice.
You want to be sure you're not overdoing any carbs when you're on a weight loss journey. Moderation is the key and here are some other important cautions about too many starchy foods.
Sweet potatoes are a great source of Vitamin A and beta carotene. This antioxidant is found in deeply colored foods like carrots and kale. Beta carotene helps provide healthy skin and eyes. It’s also been linked to a lower risk of heart disease and stroke.
A study conducted by the University of Vienna found that people who ate sweet potato twice a day for 5 months had better insulin sensitivity. They also had lower levels of a protein thought to contribute to hardening of the arteries.
Sweet potatoes have high levels of potassium and manganese, as well as of Vitamin B6.
Practical Potato Tips
Potatoes are cheap and easy to keep.
When buying potatoes, look for the ones that don’t have green spots, sprouts or bruises. They should be hard and firm with no soft spots.
Potatoes are best kept in a cool, dark dry place. Kept in this way, they can last for weeks.
Cooking potatoes in a healthy way isn’t hard. Baking, roasting, boiling and grilling are all great. The only problem comes when you fry them!
When possible, potatoes should be cooked whole – if you cube or slice them before boiling them they will lose a lot of their minerals and vitamins. This is true of both white potatoes and sweet potatoes.
Here’s a recipe for a healthy version of “fries” that you can make with white potatoes or sweet potatoes:
Yours in health and happiness,
P.S. Pass this good potato mojo along to your friends by sharing this article and I want to hear from you in the comments below. Which variety of potatoes do you usually buy?