The Health Benefits of Potatoes

Today I wanted to share with you some of the health benefits of potatoes.  People, for some reason, have been told that eating potatoes is a bad idea.  I suppose the word starch comes to mind, and people think starch is a bad thing.  Well today I wanted to share some of the research that’s been done to show that potatoes, when prepared properly can be beneficial to a persons health.

When most people think of potatoes they think of them in the form of french fries, IMG_20140226_193425_893which have seem to become a staple in Americans diets.  Baked potatoes are also very popular and a much better option.  Other options for potatoes are broiled, stewed, mashed, heck it’s a potato, you can do just about anything with it.  🙂  One of my favorite ways to have potatoes is my mom’s canned potatoes.  She chops up potatoes, with the skin left on and seals them up through the canning process.  That is definitely some good eating.  Yum!

While looking up information about the health benefits I stumbled upon some history and facts about the potato.  I found them interesting and thought you might too.  Thanks goes to the websites aboutnutritionfacts.com and www.mayoclinic.org for the information.

  • Potatoes where first cultivated in Chile and Peru around 8000 B.C.
  • In 1570 Spanish explorers brought the first potatoes to Europe.
  • In 1801 President Thomas Jefferson served the first french fries at the White House.
  • In 1995 the potato became the first vegetable to be grown in space.
  • China is the top producer of potatoes with 73 million tons.  Followed by India with 34 million tons produced.
  • Belarus is the number one consumer of potatoes.
  • The worlds largest potato weighed in at 8.28 lbs.
  • Frying a potato raises fat content from near zero to almost 8g.
  • Americans spend $6 billion dollars on potato chips each year.

Now for some of the health benefits of potatoes.

1.  Potatoes have been shown to lower high blood pressure with the same results as eating oats, but without an increase in weight, which can result in eating oats.  Potatoes have potassium, which is a nutrient lacking in people’s diets and is very important in lowering a person’s blood pressure.

2.  Research has shown that lectins, which is a type of protein that bind specifically with certain sugars in the body, can help inhibit cancer cell growth in some cancer patient’s.

3.  Potatoes are an excellent source of several nutrients, such as vitamins C and B6, potassium, pantothenic acid, niacin and dietary fiber.  The protein in potatoes contain lysine, an essential amino acid generally absent in grains.

4.  Eating potatoes can increase brain function.  The brain or nerve center of your body relies on several things to function, including balanced glucose levels, oxygen, Vitamin B complex, amino acids, Omega-3 and other fatty acids, among others.  Potatoes contain these elements and so much more to keep your brain performing as it should.

5.  Eating potatoes can help prevent cardiovascular disease.  Potatoes are a great source of carbohydrates, protein, calcium, niacin and Vitamins C and B-complex.  These properties help fight heart disease and keep blood pressure at normal levels.  Potatoes also contain carotenoids, which give color to plant parts, and are a key to heart health and overall health and wellness.

6.  Potatoes are rich sources of magnesium which can offset the accumulation of calcium in the kidney and help to prevent kidney stones.

7.  Potatoes contain Vitamins C and B-complex, potassium, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus, all excellent vitamins and minerals for your skin.  Raw potatoes can be mashed and mixed with honey to make a masque for your skin.  Raw potatoes can also be applied to burns and rashes to ease the swelling and pain.

As you can see potatoes aren’t the bad guy they’ve been made out to be.  I encourage you to make potatoes a part of your diet, and I don’t mean in the form of french fries.

Here are some healthy potato recipes to show you that french fries aren’t the only way a potato can be eaten.  🙂

Healthier Oven Roasted Potatoes

Cheesy Broccoli-Potato Mash

Baked Potato Nachos

 

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