Consumption of potatoes and sweet potatoes has been linked to better health. Here’s a look at some of the benefits.
Immune System Support
The vitamin C in potatoes can help prevent everything from scurvy to the worst of the common cold.
Sweet potatoes are especially high in several forms of vitamin A, which gives them their orange color. Eating a sweet potato a day gives you 150% of your daily recommended vitamin A, and vitamin A helps support your immune system.
Potatoes can even help with preventing cancer, especially sweet potatoes.
Different varieties of potatoes contain carotenoids and anthocyanins—powerful antioxidants that help support cell health.
Sweet potatoes are also rich in antioxidants, which have been studied in the prevention and treatment of cancer. Both orange and purple sweet potatoes are rich in antioxidants.
Sweet potatoes are packed with beta-carotene, an essential component for eye health.
Iron, phosphorous, calcium, magnesium and zinc in potatoes help the body maintain bone health. The iron and zinc in potatoes helps in the production of collagen, which is important for skin elasticity.
Potatoes are rich in vitamin C, which acts as an antioxidant to support blood pressure, heart health, and digestion. One study showed that purple potatoes could contribute to lower blood pressure.
The antioxidants in sweet potatoes are also associated with anti-inflammatory effects that can reduce the risk of heart disease. The fiber in sweet potatoes contributes to reducing cholesterol. And the high potassium levels in sweet potatoes helps keep blood pressure lower.
The American Diabetes Association includes sweet potatoes in its healthy eating plans for managing diabetes because they have a low glycemic index (GI), which helps with blood sugar regulation. Because of their high fiber content, sweet potatoes don’t spike blood sugar levels.
Potatoes in and of themselves are not fattening; it’s what you put on them that counts. A medium potato is under 200 calories and gives you 30% of your recommended vitamin B6 intake.
Part of the starch in sweet potatoes is something called resistant starch—it’s a filling, fiber-like substance that your body doesn’t digest or absorb. Resistant starch also induces your body to release more hormones that make you feel full and satisfied. (You can increase the resistant starch in potatoes by boiling them. Refrigerate them overnight and then eat them cold—maybe a light potato salad?)
Did you know that potatoes and sweet potatoes can be so healthful? Please tell us about healthy ways you use potatoes and sweet potatoes.