Botanically, potatoes are a vegetable, but nutritionally, they’re mostly carbohydrates, which is probably why you won’t find them at the top of any “healthiest food” list. A medium-sized reddish potato with the skin on contains 164 calories and 37 grams (g) of carbohydrate, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). But not all potatoes are bad: they provide protein and fiber (5 and 4 g, respectively, in the same serving), are naturally fat-free, and are a good source of B vitamins and potassium.
While all varieties of white-fleshed potatoes tend to be nutritionally comparable, they have slightly different tastes and textures that suit different dishes. For example, red potatoes have a light, fluffy flesh that makes them well suited for baked potatoes. Yukon Gold Potatoes have a naturally rich, buttery texture that lends itself perfectly to a creamy mashed potato. If it’s the size that matters most to your dish, small potatoes or small potatoes might be the perfect solution. No matter what variety of potatoes you serve, in their natural form they are a great addition to a healthy diet.
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The real problem with potatoes tends to be the way they’re served. In the United States at least, most of these tubers are eaten in a processed form: in the form of crisps, French fries, or other packaged goods. Between 2017 and 2019, about 65% of all potatoes sold were used in processed foods, according to a USDA report released in September 2020. Often, these preparations add fat and salt while removing them. nutrients like fiber. Meanwhile, restaurant baked potatoes are loaded with butter, sour cream, bacon, cheese, and even chili.
There are definitely better ways to prepare them, and there are plenty of reasons why you should. In a study, published in January 2020 in the British Journal of Nutrition, 50 healthy adults who ate non-fried potatoes every day for a month had a better overall diet and showed no negative impact on cardiovascular health than when they ate one. equal amount of refined grains instead of potatoes. In fact, an even more recent study, published in June 2021 in Nutrients, reported that increasing dietary potassium from baked or boiled potatoes helped lower blood pressure in 30 adults at risk.
Potatoes tend to outlast many other vegetables and provide a neutral base for many other flavors. They’re also inexpensive, filling, and versatile enough to eat every day. Remember to treat them more like pasta than lettuce when it comes to portions. These seven recipes will help you discover how to enjoy the healthier side of sweet potatoes.