(AscendHealthy.com) – Mashed, baked, fried with onions over an open campfire, hashed brown or made into gnocchi, potatoes are often something we associate with comfort and warmth. Yet potatoes are full of nutrition and have several health benefits, too. Read further to learn all about these nine surprising health benefits of potatoes.
See How Potatoes Can Be Healthy for Your Diet.
1. Increased Heart Health
Potassium, vitamin K and a few other key nutrients in potatoes might offer heart-healthy benefits. A healthy heart requires potassium to keep its rhythm, and potassium is concentrated in the potato skins. In fact, the majority of the fiber and many nutrients are in the skins, too. Look for recipes that include the skins to reap the best nutritional benefits of potatoes.
2. Antioxidant Boost
Purple potatoes are not only pretty, but those colorful spuds are highly nutritious. In addition to all the healthy nutrition of a white potato, purple potatoes are packed with two to three times more antioxidants than white potatoes. Their color and some of their unique health benefits come from anthocyanins, the same compounds that give blueberries their distinctive purple color.
Like white potatoes, purple potatoes can be cooked with the skins. The flavor might be a bit more earthy than white potatoes, but they can be used interchangeably.
3. Better Blood Pressure
Like heart health, blood pressure might also be improved by the potassium found in potato skins. Antioxidants might also play a role in blood pressure regulation, so purple potatoes might have the upper hand when it comes to reducing hypertension.
4. Vascular Health
Some studies suggest that eating purple potatoes, compared with eating white potatoes, might reduce arterial stiffness. The anthocyanins found in purple potatoes might help relax and strengthen your blood vessels.
5. Reduced Cancer Risk
Colon and breast cancer risks may be reduced by eating purple potatoes. The same anthocyanins that might help with vascular and heart risks might also lower the risk of these types of cancer.
6. Fiber Boost
Sweet potatoes come in a variety of colors from orange to near white and have a softer, fleshier consistency with a sweet flavor. They are versatile, healthy vegetables, especially if you eat the skins.
The nutritional value of sweet potatoes is quite different from white potatoes because they contain more sugar and nearly twice the fiber. Boiled white potatoes contain nearly double the amount of starch as boiled sweet potatoes. Due to their low Glycemic Index (GI), sweet potatoes are the more preferred option for diabetics.
7. Boosted Immunity
Sweet potatoes are loaded with vitamin C and other antioxidants that might help boost the immune system. They also have B vitamins the immune system requires for energy.
8. Improved Gut Health
The special type of soluble fiber in sweet potatoes promotes movement through the gut; instead of bulking up in the colon, it helps fecal matter move. The antioxidants in sweet potatoes might also help promote gut health.
9. Vision Improvements
Sweet potatoes get their orange color from beta-carotene. This potent dietary component is known to help prevent macular degeneration. Additionally, it may help keep the eyes healthy. Beta-carotene turns into vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A deficiency may lead to blindness, so a diet rich in beta-carotene, like that found in sweet potatoes, may prevent that from happening.
Potatoes of all colors, in moderation, are a healthy addition to a well-balanced diet and may provide several health benefits. Because so much of the nutrition is in the skins, try to accommodate them in your recipes. Potatoes can be a healthy main or side dish for almost anyone to enjoy.
~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension
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