Health Benefits of Potatoes

Potatoes have been getting a bad rap in the food world. But the pride of Idaho actually has much to boast about. Potatoes are filling, moderate in calories, and non-fattening, and are an excellent way to ensure your continued success in eating healthy.

Potatoes are an excellent source of almost every essential vitamin and mineral.
Potatoes are an excellent source of almost every essential vitamin and mineral.

Whoever coined the phrase "the lowly potato" certainly wasn't aware of its nutrient values. And anyone who still shuns the potato thinking it is fattening is missing out on a food tailor-made for the calorie-conscious person.

Potatoes are nutrient-dense, meaning you receive many nutrients for the amount of calories they have. The fiber is half soluble, half insoluble, so it helps to keep you regular and helps to lower cholesterol. And slowing down digestion helps to keep you full longer. Phytochemicals in potatoes include flavanoids and a recently identified compound called kukoamine that appears to help lower blood pressure.

With the exception of vitamin A, white potatoes have just about every nutrient. Did you know potatoes are full of vitamin C? However, since we do not eat potatoes raw, most of the vitamin C is lost due to the heat of cooking. In addition, one baked potato offers about 20 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin B6, which is good news for your heart. They are also very high in potassium, beating other potassium-rich foods. They are a good source of iron and copper, too. In fact, a potato a day is good for your heart, promoting normal blood-pressure levels.

As it turns out, the bad rap belongs to the toppings and preparation methods we often use to turn potatoes from a healthful food to a fatty, salty snack. The health-conscious will want to bake, not fry, and be conscious of the nutritional value of the oils, toppings, and condiments that touch our spuds.

Nutritional Values for White Potato, Fresh, Baked (with Skin)
Serving Size: 1 large baking potato (3-4")

Calories 278
Fat <1 g
Saturated Fat <1 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Carbohydrate 63 g
Protein 6 g
Dietary Fiber 6 g
Sodium 21 mg
Vitamin C 37 mg
Thiamin <1 mg
Niacin 5 mg
Vitamin B6 1 mg
Copper <1 mg
Iron 2 mg
Magnesium 81 mg
Manganese <1 mg
Phosphorus 224 mg
Potassium 1,627 mg

Want more information about potatoes? Try:
  • Vegetable Recipes: Find delicious recipes that feature potatoes.
  • Vegetable Gardens: Grow a full harvest of great vegetables this year.
  • Nutrition: Find out if potatoes fit into your nutritional plan.
  • Gardening: We answer your questions about all things that come from the garden.
This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.