What Are the Healthiest Types of Potatoes?

What Are the Healthiest Types of Potatoes?

In many parts of the world, potatoes (Solanum tuberosum), which are starchy root vegetables, form a staple diet. Despite being the most popular vegetable in the US, potatoes are frequently viewed as harmful because of their high carbohydrate content and usage in fast food.

Potatoes, however, offer a wealth of nutritional advantages. They include a variety of vital vitamins and minerals, including fiber and potassium. They also include other protecting plant chemicals including antioxidants.

When prepared in a way that maintains their nutritional worth, potatoes of any kind can be a nutritious option. Because of their high vitamin content, varieties like purple, red, and sweet potatoes stand out; nonetheless, a potato’s overall health depends largely on how it is prepared.

Violet Potatoes

Anthocyanins, a kind of antioxidant, are one of the many beneficial plant chemicals found in purple potatoes. The purple, blue, or red hues found in fruits and vegetables are caused by polyphenol plant pigments called anthocyanins. Apart from lending purple potatoes their rich hue, anthocyanins contribute to well-being by shielding cells from harm and diminishing inflammation, both of which can mitigate the likelihood of chronic illnesses.

Studies indicate that individuals who eat a diet rich in foods high in anthocyanins, including purple potatoes, are less likely to develop heart disease and type 2 diabetes.1.

Due to their high polyphenol content, purple potatoes might be a better option for blood sugar control than other potato varieties. This is due to research showing that, in comparison to yellow and white potatoes, potatoes with pigment had less of an impact on blood sugar levels following meals.2 Purple potatoes are also a great source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

The following is a nutritional analysis of a 3.5-ounce (about 100 grams, or 2/3 cup) portion of raw purple potatoes:3.

  • Calories: 85
  • Protein: 1.54 grams (g)
  • Carbohydrates: 20 g
  • Fiber: 3.1 g
  • Potassium: 337 milligrams (mg) or 14% of the Daily Value (DV)

Although purple potatoes are a rich source of both vitamins B6 and C, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) website does not provide precise information regarding these nutrients.45

Prep tip: For an easy and delectable side dish, try roasting purple potatoes with olive oil and seasoning with salt and pepper.

Red Potatoes

Quercetin, rutin, kaempferol-rutinose, and other flavonoid antioxidants are abundant in red potatoes. Compared to white potatoes, red potatoes have twice as many flavonoids.SixThey’re also a great source of potassium and vitamin C, among other nutrients.

The following represents a nutritional analysis of a 3.5-ounce portion of cooked red potatoes:7.

  • Calories: 87
  • Protein: 2.3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 19.6 g
  • Fiber: 1.8 g
  • Potassium: 545 mg or 12% of the DV
  • Vitamin B6: 0.212 mg or 12% of the DV
  • Vitamin C: 12.6 mg or 14% of the DV

Like purple potatoes, red potatoes are rich in vitamin C. One 3.5-ounce serving provides 14% of your daily needs for this critical nutrient. Red potatoes are also a good source of potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure and support heart health. Consuming adequate potassium is essential for blood pressure control because potassium helps the body excrete sodium through the urine. It also relaxes blood vessels.8

Prep tip: Try pairing red potatoes with other high-potassium foods like beans and lentils in soups and grain dishes for an extra nutritional boost. Leave the skin on, as red potato peels are high in anthocyanin antioxidants.6

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are edible roots of the morning glory family, Convolvulaceae.9. Sweet potatoes are sometimes lumped with tubers like white, red, and purple potatoes even though they are members of separate plant families. But sweet potatoes are loaded with minerals like vitamin A that are absent from red, purple, and white potatoes.

Beta-carotene and other provitamin A carotenoids are abundant in sweet potatoes. The active forms of vitamin A, retinal and retinoic acid, are produced by the body from beta-carotene. The body requires vitamin A for a number of essential functions, including immunological response, cellular development, and eyesight.10

Additionally, carotenoids function in the body as potent antioxidants, shielding cells from oxidative damage that could result in disease. Heart disease and some types of cancer have been linked to lower risks of chronic diseases in diets rich in carotenoids.11

Sweet potatoes are high in potassium, vitamin C, B vitamins, and fiber. The following represents a nutritional analysis of a 3.5-ounce portion of cooked sweet potatoes with skin:12

  • Calories: 90
  • Protein: 2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 20.7 g
  • Fiber: 3.3 g
  • Magnesium: 27 mg or 6% of the DV
  • Potassium: 473 mg or 10% of the DV
  • Vitamin A: 957 micrograms (mcg) or 107% of the DV
  • Vitamin B6: 0.285 mg or 17% of the DV
  • Vitamin C: 19.5 mg or 22% of the DV

In comparison to red, white, and purple potatoes, sweet potatoes have more fiber. Compared to the same serving of red potatoes, they offer around 75% more fiber. In addition to maintaining regular and comfortable bowel motions, fiber is crucial for gut health. Additionally, fiber keeps you feeling full after meals, which lowers the chance that you will overeat.Thirteen

Prep tip: Sweet potatoes work well in savory and sweet recipes when baked, roasted, steamed, and mashed. Sweet potatoes can be made into fries by slicing them, adding seasonings and olive oil, and then baking them.

Which Potatoes Are Limitable

Healthy diets can contain potatoes of any kind, even white potatoes. Eating potatoes has been shown in studies to increase nutritional intake and feelings of fullness.15
Lee JJ, Bellissimo N, Amalraj R, et al. White potatoes’ impact on healthy older people’ subjective hunger, food consumption, and glycemic response. nutrients.

On the other hand, some processing techniques might lessen the beneficial components in potatoes and cause dangerous compounds to arise.

Potatoes that are Fried

In the US, frozen foods like french fries and hash browns use about one-third of all potatoes.16 A common ingredient in numerous recipes, such as Spanish omelets, samosas, and latkes, is fried potato.

Potatoes lose some of their nutritious value when they are fried because the anthocyanins can be destroyed. Studies reveal that cooking potatoes can lower their anthocyanin concentration by up to 83%.Six Potatoes that have been fried may also contain less vitamin C, another potent antioxidant.17

Frying causes advanced glycation end products (AGEs) to develop. When proteins or lipids interact with sugars, chemicals known as AGEs are produced. Fried foods, such as potato chips and french fries, are a great source of AGEs, which can cause cell damage when the body produces too much of them.18 This is one of the explanations for the findings that diets heavy in fried foods raise the risk of developing heart disease and breast cancer.19

Because fried potato products contain a lot of oil, they are frequently higher in calories than potatoes prepared in other ways, such baking or steaming. For this reason, consuming fried food too frequently may result in weight gain.

Baking or Mashing Potatoes

Even though mashed potatoes are a healthful food on their own, most recipes call for fatty additions like butter and heavy cream. You can add high-fat toppings like bacon, cheese, or sour cream to baked potatoes.

Enjoy potatoes in a variety of ways, but watch out for additions that could lessen the dish’s overall nutritional advantages.

The Healthiest Potato Cooking Methods

You may add potatoes to your diet in a number of ways. Boiling, steaming, and microwaving are the best ways to preserve anthocyanins in various potato species, according to research. The most significant loss of these protecting chemicals occurs during freezing.

Keeping your potatoes’ peels on can help you consume more antioxidants called anthocyanins and stop potassium and vitamin C from being lost while cooking.20

Here are several nutritious methods to include potatoes in your diet:

  • To make a vibrant and tasty potato salad, steam potatoes and add fresh herbs, spices, olive oil, and mustard.
  • To boost the fiber, vitamin, and mineral value of recipes, add potatoes to soups and stews.
  • For a quick and easy side dish, bake or microwave a sweet potato or ordinary potato in its skin.
  • Greek yogurt can be used in place of cream or milk to make a lighter, higher-protein version of typical mashed potatoes. This easy ingredient gives your food a creamy smoothness and tangy flavor while adding full protein.
    Instead of frying, bake dishes like latkes and various variations on potato pancakes.
  • Enjoy experimenting in your kitchen with the various easy ways you can incorporate potatoes into your diet.

A Brief Recap

One of the most significant food crops in the world is the potato. In the US, they are also the most popular vegetable. Potatoes are a good source of potassium, vitamin C, and other vitamins and minerals in addition to carbohydrates.

While potatoes of all kinds can be included in a balanced diet, potatoes of the purple, red, and sweet varieties—which are frequently combined with potatoes—stand out for having high concentrations of beneficial plant compounds and vital elements.

Steaming and baking are better cooking methods; frying might lower nutritional and antioxidant levels.

Sanchita Patil

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