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How Healthy Are Potatoes? Unearthing the Nutritional Facts

Potatoes, a common food in many homes, grow underground on the roots of the Solanum tuberosum plant. They’re affordable, simple to cultivate, and full of different nutrients.

What’s in a Potato? A medium-sized baked potato (6.1 ounces or 173 grams), skin included, offers:

  • Energy: 161 calories
  • Fat: 0.2 grams
  • Protein: 4.3 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 36.6 grams
  • Dietary fiber: 3.8 grams
  • Vitamin C: 28% of the RDI
  • Vitamin B6: 27% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 26% of the RDI
  • Manganese: 19% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 12% of the RDI
  • Phosphorus: 12% of the RDI
  • Niacin: 12% of the RDI
  • Folate: 12% of the RDI

The nutritional value can change based on the type of potato and how it’s cooked. For instance, fried potatoes have more calories and fat than baked ones. The potato’s skin holds most of the vitamins and minerals. Peeling potatoes can greatly lower their nutritional value.

Why Are Potatoes Good for You? Potatoes are full of compounds like flavonoids, carotenoids, and phenolic acids. These compounds work as antioxidants in the body by neutralizing harmful molecules called free radicals. When free radicals build up, they can raise the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Potatoes have a unique kind of starch called resistant starch. This starch isn’t broken down and fully absorbed by the body. Instead, it reaches the large intestine where it feeds the good bacteria in your gut. Studies have linked resistant starch to many health benefits, including lowering insulin resistance, which improves blood sugar control.

Potatoes might also help digestion, lower cholesterol, protect against polyps, prevent cancer and diabetes, strengthen the immune system, slow down aging symptoms, boost circulation, improve skin health, control blood pressure, maintain fluid balance, reduce sleep problems, and improve eye health.

In conclusion, potatoes are a versatile and nutritious root vegetable that may have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and gut-friendly effects. They’re a great source of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and plant compounds that may be beneficial to health. However, it’s important to remember that the way potatoes are cooked can greatly affect their health benefits.

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