The potato, also called Solanum tuberosum, is a starchy crop favored amongst people of all ages. Although it has a reputation for being unhealthy, mainly because of how some fast food restaurants prepare them, the humble potato does have superb benefits.
In particular, the skin of potatoes consists of disease-fighting nutrients and weight-friendly fiber. If you incorporate potato skins into your diet, you get more healthy meals from each potato.
High Fiber Content
Fiber found in potato skins offer several health advantages. It’s great for preventing constipation and may reduce the risk of heart disease, colon cancer, and type 2 diabetes. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics claims that fiber also helps in maintaining a healthy weight.
Eating foods that are rich in fiber also aid in preventing blood sugar slumps that often cause hunger and mindless snacking. Up to age 50, women need at least 25 grams of fiber daily, while men should consume 38 grams. After the age of 50, both genders require less fiber intake. Potato skins are perfectly rich in fiber with 2 grams per ounce.
High Potassium Content
Potato skins are bursting with potassium, an essential mineral. Since it lowers blood pressure, studies have linked potassium with a lower risk of succumbing to heart attacks. The University of Maryland Medical Center claims that getting enough potassium reduces the risk of experiencing a stroke, but only if your potassium intake comes from food and not supplements.
Another benefit from eating potato skins is that because of its potassium content, it can prevent water retention that causes weight gain.
When you think of vitamin C, citrus fruits like oranges immediately come to mind. But potatoes, including the skins, are excellent sources of the immunity-boosting vitamin. The human body needs vitamin C to support a healthy immune system. Vitamin C also helps produce enough collagen to build connective tissues and bones, as well as protect cells against harmful atoms created as a result of chemical reactions in the body.
One serving of potato eaten with the skin provides 45 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin C.
Potato skins also contain calcium, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, vitamin D, and phytochemicals which are great for reducing the risk of major chronic diseases. Since potato skins contain no fat, no cholesterol, and no sodium, they can easily be part of a healthy weight loss diet. Prepared in a healthy manner, two halves of potato skin contain roughly 114 calories.
Baked, Not Fried
More popular methods of preparing potato skins, such as deep frying or filling with sour cream and bacon, add unwanted fats and calories. To maximize its health benefits, consider baking the humble vegetable instead of deep frying.
Damaged potatoes with greenish hues or sprouts contain harmful chemicals that can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, and in rare cases, even death. Cooking cannot destroy the poisonous substances in such potatoes, so remember to examine and wash each vegetable thoroughly.
If you are attempting to change your diet for the better, make the humble potato part of it. As long as you prepare and eat it correctly, it will only serve your body well.