We’ve all heard it over and over again – if you are trying to lose weight, potatoes are the enemy. What most people fail to mention is that preparation is everything when it comes to potatoes. They can be bad for your low-carb nutrition regime if you prepare them with lots of oil, salt, dips and cheeses, but then again, those ingredients would make even the healthiest veggie sinful.
It’s about time to clear some things up about potatoes because this vegetable can be very good for you, if you know what to do with it and keep portions in mind. But, then again, the same goes for any other food.
First, let’s talk vitamins. Most people don’t know that potatoes offer a palette of vitamins that can do you loads of good. For example, potato skin is packed with potassium. We don’t really take advantage of this because we peel the skin before using the potato, which is a complete waste. If you’re not sure how to cook a potato that hasn’t been peeled, you can simply bake it with a little drizzle of olive oil and some spices of your choosing. When prepared like this, potatoes are completely tolerable calorie-wise, and a bomb when it comes to the potassium, as it offers up to 1600mg of it, which is more than a half of daily recommended intake. If you want to compare it to other common potassium sources, then picture it like this – eating one medium sized baked potato with its skin on will provide you with as much potassium as four bananas. These amounts of potassium will help you a lot if you have problems with high blood pressure, not to mention overall bone health.
Speaking of vitamins, we shouldn’t miss our good friend vitamin C. We all know that vitamin C is abundant in oranges and other citrus fruit, but potatoes are also a great source. Let’s put it in numbers again to give you a clearer perspective – one (medium sized) potato can bring you around 45% of vitamin C daily requirements. Useful information is that this vitamin isn’t only good for keeping your immune system up and running, it can also help you with stress relief. If you ingest vitamin C regularly, chances are that your stress hormones will lower with time and stressful situations won’t affect you as severely as they once did.
Potatoes can actually help in weight loss, even though many dietitians demonize it. We don’t always have measure when eating potatoes, because they have a more or less neutral taste which goes perfectly with practically anything. If you decide to top your potato with other veggies and maybe some salsa, you will get a perfectly hearty meal that will be within your dietary restrictions and will keep you full for longer. If you eat it with its skin, which you definitely should, then you’ll get a good amount of fiber as well, which is excellent for good digestion.
A misconception that goes around a lot is that potatoes contain fat, which is simply not the case. If you eat a lot of them, then you will feel bloated and your scale will attest to that, but eating potatoes in moderation won’t in any way push you off the wagon. What’s more, the potato doesn’t have sodium and is very low on sugar, which makes it perfectly acceptable for your low-carb diet. Bear in mind that this goes when you eat your potato solo, baked or boiled, when it can give you the most of its vitamins and fiber.
There are other benefits that come from potatoes, such as its richness in both manganese and vitamin B6. If you aren’t as familiar with these nutrients, it’s because they aren’t in the spotlight as much, but are still doing a fair share of heavy lifting in our metabolism. While manganese is great for processing food, especially protein and cholesterol, B6 helps in maintaining important brain hormones on a satisfactory level. Both of these boosters are present in potatoes, and along with potassium and vitamin C make a great health infusion.
When it comes to potatoes, there’s no need to avoid them like the plague. Naturally, don’t eat french fries or chips, but rather opt out for home baked delicious potatoes and you won’t go wrong.