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Potatoes: Are They Healthy?

Dorathy Gass

They can be baked, mashed, fried, or placed over ground beef and veggies for Sheppard’s pie. The potato is a very versatile side in any meal, but the bigger question: is it a healthy food option?

A plain baked potato can be considered healthy, especially when one eats the skin, which is rich in fiber. However, thanks to its starch content, it should not be the only veggie on your plate come mealtime.

Still, past studies have indicated that potatoes, especially when prepared in a form that avoids high-fat content, have the ability to decrease a person’s appetite after a meal, which makes them a great item to reach for if you are looking to lessen the calorie load. They also have iron in them, vitamin C, potassium, and vitamin B6. In fact, a medium-sized potato equals out to 20 percent of the needed daily intake of potassium; a nutrient that can help cease the effect sodium has on blood pressure.

Previous research has indicated that consuming about six to eight small purple potatoes, rich in antioxidants, two times per day will not cause weight gain, and yet help to decrease blood pressure and the chance of stroke and heart disease when it comes to those who are overweight with hypertension.

In fact, overall, the number and types of nutrients when it comes to different potatoes don’t vary that significantly. One exception to this rule is the sweet potato, which also happens to be a great beta-carotene source.

Moreover, CNN recently reported that the biggest issue with potatoes happens when they are fried, which thus increases fat, sodium, as well as calories. Another issue with potatoes is individuals tend to slap on ingredients that are high in calories: that is, sour cream, cheese, salad dressings, mayo, or butter (and all those other creamy sauces).

Therefore, at the end of the day, it would be silly to exclude this yummy vegetable from your daily diet. As with any other type of food, the way you prepare it should be conscientious, and what you add on may not only pack on those calories, but negative health effects as well.
Lastly, any food in moderation, even French fries, should be consumed once in awhile. These eating habits will help to keep you sane, after all!

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