Are potatoes healthy? Of course, they are! Since they are a vegetable, they're loaded with vitamins (hello, Vitamin C!) minerals, and fiber, so there are many health benefits of potatoes. Not only are they very nutritious, they're also incredibly versatile and there are many ways to cook with them. I've included some of my favorite vegan recipes, too.
The Health Benefits of Potatoes
With the rising popularity of keto and paleo diets, carbohydrate-rich foods like potatoes and whole grains have been getting a bad rap lately. It’s important to remember that carbohydrates are a macronutrient, not a food group, and they’re very much a part of a healthy diet.
Our bodies use carbohydrates as fuel, and our brains need them to function properly. They’re also crucial for keeping the digestive system in tip-top order.
A health coaching client once told me that she didn’t eat potatoes because Oprah said not to eat anything white. I’m going to have to disagree with Oprah on this one, because there are many health benefits of potatoes. These starchy vegetables are chock-full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients.
Potatoes don't contain fat, cholesterol, or sodium, so there are even more reasons to eat them!
I’ve heard people say that the potato peel contains more nutrition than the actual potato, but that’s not entirely true. Both the skin and the flesh contain a significant amount of nutrients. So, when cooking with potatoes, I rarely remove the peel.
Potato Nutritional Facts
The average medium-sized potato contains:
- 4 g protein
- 26 mg calcium
- 1.1 mg iron
- 34 mg Vitamin C
- 0.2 mg Vitamin B6
- 4 g dietary fiber
- 722 mg potassium
How Many Calories are in a Potato?
Since potatoes vary from type to type and they come in a range of sizes, it's difficult to say exactly how many calories are in one potato. A medium-sized potato contains about 110 calories.
Some the Many Health Benefits of Potatoes Include:
- Heart Health – Potatoes are rich in the carotenoidszeaxanthin and lutein, which are known to protect the heart. They’re chock-full of potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6, which are also known to support hearth health.
- Regulate Cholesterol – Potatoes also promote hearth health because of the significant amount of fiber they contain, which can lower the total amount of cholesterol in the blood.
- Regulate Blood Pressure – The fiber, calcium, magnesium, and potassium found in potatoes may help to alleviate hypertension.
- Cancer Prevention – Quercetin and folate, which can both be found in potatoes, are known for their anti-cancer and anti-tumor properties. The antioxidants found in potatoes can also protect against various forms of cancer.
- Bone Health – Potatoes contain iron, phosphorous, calcium, magnesium, and zinc, all of which help the body to build and maintain bone structure and strength.
- Healthy Digestion – Fiber is necessary for a health digestive tract, and potatoes have lots of it!
- Skin Health – Potatoes are rich in vitamin C. This antioxidant can help to prevent skin damage caused by the sun, potation, and smoke. It can also smooth wrinkles and improve skin texture.
- Immune Support – The vitamin C found in potatoes may also help boost the immune system and reduce the duration of colds.
- Reduction of Inflammation – Thanks once gain to that vitamin C content, potatoes may reduce the amount of inflammation found the in the body, which can lead to various diseases and conditions.
- Weight Management– Potatoes’ fiber will also keep you feeling full longer than most other foods, which can help reduce appetite and reduce the overall caloric intake.
Favorite Vegan Potato Recipes
While I do love French fries (baked, of course!) and roasted potatoes, tubers are incredibly versatile and can be used in a variety of different dishes. These are just a few of my favorite ways to cook potatoes.
Spinach Dip Potato Skins – Is there anything better than chips and dip? How about a combination of chips and dip in one tasty little package?
Buffalo Potato Nuggets – This healthy twist on tater tots is drenched in spicy buffalo sauce and dairy-free ranch.
Potatoes au Gratin with Kale – Thinly sliced potatoes, kale, and dairy-free cheese sauce come together deliciously in this veganized comfort food classic.
Shepherd’s Pie Baked Potatoes – Loaded with lentils and vegetables, these vegan baked potatoes are perfect comfort food! They’re a great meal to warm up with on chilly weeknights.
German Potato Salad – This warm salad is a fun addition to any summertime cookout!
Colcannon – Mashed potatoes are loaded with kale, leeks, and scallions in this traditional Irish dish.
Colcannon Cakes – These little patties have everything you love about colcannon in a little bite-sized package.
Hasselback Potatoes– These potatoes take very little time to make, and they make an excellent –and pretty! – side dish.
Baked Potato Soup – This veganized classic will keep you warm and cozy on chilly evenings.
Peaceful Potato, Pesto, and Arugula Pizza – If you’ve never put potatoes on a pizza, you need to stop what you’re doing and change that immediately!
What are your favorite ways to cook with potatoes?