National Potato Day

A basket full of potatoes

In the past, potatoes have gotten a bad rap and with National Potato Day coming up on August 19th, we thought it would be a great opportunity to debunk a couple of myths surrounding this vegetable – and it is a vegetable! Many believe that potatoes will cause you to gain weight or that there are some that are better than others, but it is simply not true! In fact, there are many nutritional benefits to eating potatoes. In addition to all their benefits, let’s take a look at a few different types of potatoes and some of the ways to prepare them.

Potatoes are actually high in a variety of vitamins, including vitamins B6, C and potassium. They are a good source vitamin B6, which is a nutrient that plays an important role in your metabolism and it helps turn energy from food into energy your body can use. Vitamin C is just one of the antioxidants that potatoes contain, which is great for the body’s immune system. Not to mention, vitamin C is also good for building collagen, which is in turn contributes to healthy skin. Potatoes are also an excellent source of potassium and one potato contains nearly 20{e1d1da273b635f16417ba655440684ad637b1b2ba84c62680fba63d76bda128b} of the daily recommended amount. That’s more than a banana! Many people believe potatoes will lead to weight gain, but the truth is that a 5 ounce potato contains only about 110 calories and no fat. They are also naturally gluten free and contain no sodium or cholesterol.

Did you know that there are actually more than 4,000 varieties of potatoes worldwide? While some of them are too bitter to eat, there are plenty that can be served up in your kitchen so you can take advantage of all those health benefits! Here are just a few of the delicious types of potatoes:

Russet

When people think of potatoes, they typically picture a Russet potato, which are great for baking or making mashed potatoes since they tend to lose their shape once they are cooked. They are a good source of fiber and protein, which will help keep you fuller longer.

Yukon Gold

These potatoes get their name from their velvety yellow or golden skin. Since they are a naturally creamy potato, they call for less butter so it is easy to make this into a light side dish. Eating just one of these can give you half of your day’s vitamin C and can also boost your energy by giving you 26 grams of carbohydrates.

Purple

Purple potatoes are generally known for their oblong or fingerling shape. While they have a higher starch content, they are lower in sugar. These types of potatoes are different than Russet or Yukon with their nuttier flavor but they make a great addition to salads.

Sweet Potato

You may have heard that if you want good eyes, then eat carrots. Well, the same can be said for a sweet potato. They are an excellent source of beta-carotene, which turns to vitamin A once it is digested. Not only is vitamin A essential for the health of your eyes, but it will also help boost your immune system. Eating just one sweet potato can give you 35{e1d1da273b635f16417ba655440684ad637b1b2ba84c62680fba63d76bda128b} of the vitamin A you need in one day. One of the easiest ways to prepare a sweet potato is to simply steam it for about 7 minutes and then add some cinnamon for extra flavor.

Whether as a side dish or the main entree, there are plenty of benefits to eating potatoes! This sometimes undervalued, yet classic vegetable should be a staple in every kitchen. Whether or not you decide to eat them steamed, boiled, roasted or mashed is up to you, but don’t put off the potato!

Sources:

“Benefits of Russet Potatoes”. SF Gate. Accessed 10 August 2017.

“Benefits of Yukon Gold Potatoes”. SF Gate. Accessed 10 August 2017.

Farm Fresh Direct. “The Truth About Potatoes: 5 Myths Debunked”. Farm Fresh Direct. 1 April 2013. Accessed 10 August 2017.

“Potato Facts and Figures”. CIP International Potato Center. Accessed 10 August 2017.

Potato Goodness. Potatoes USA. Accessed 10 August 2017. .

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