Are potatoes healthy? Potatoes are anything but a “bad” carb. For one, spuds are sustainable, with a low carbon and water footprint, and less land is required for their production compared to other crops, according to a 2021 study in—get this—the journal Potato Research.
Despite their often-unhealthy reputation, potatoes claimed the top spot as the most commonly consumed vegetable in the United States, according to the Department of Agriculture. (Tomatoes are trailing behind!)
But what happens if you eat potatoes? Will your health suffer? Let’s take a deep dive to discover potatoes’ nutritional value, potential health benefits and drawbacks of eating this tuber every day.
Potato Nutrition Facts
One cooked potato (about 5 ounces) with skin contains the following, per the USDA:
- Calories: 118
- Total Carbohydrates: 27 g
- Dietary Fiber: 2 g
- Total Sugars: 1 g (naturally occurring)
- Protein: 3 g
- Total Fat: 0 g
- Saturated Fat: 0 g
- Sodium: 5 mg
- Potassium: 515 mg
- Vitamin C: 18 mg
Health Benefits of Potatoes
Pictured Recipe: Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
You May Be More Regular
One potato without skin offers a couple of grams of fiber, but eating the skin with the potato will add another gram of fiber, per the USDA. This can help you reach your recommended amount of fiber (25 to 38 grams per day), which can help you stay regular. In short, you may be less likely to be constipated when you eat potatoes with the skin and other fiber-containing foods like vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains.
You May Feel Full Longer
The form of potatoes you eat could impact your satiety—this could be related to how potato starch changes structure after cooking, points out a 2020 study in Nutrients.
Specifically, boiling potatoes creates slowly digestible and resistant starches, per research in LWT in 2020. This ultimately delays digestion and carbohydrate absorption. Consequently, when your meals include potatoes, you may feel full and satisfied longer, according to 2018 research in Nutrients. Ultimately, you may be less likely to overeat or have the urge to snack shortly after your meal.
You May Improve Your Gut Health
Whole potatoes contain resistant starch, which gets fermented by bacteria in your colon. That means that spuds are considered a prebiotic, so they feed the “good” bacteria in your gut, according to 2019 research in the American Journal of Potato Research. Eating whole potatoes and other food sources of prebiotics, such as garlic, helps maintain a healthy microbiome, improving digestion and supporting immune health.
You May Have Better Blood Pressure
Potatoes are abundant in potassium, says the National Institutes of Health, a mineral that supports your nerves, muscles, kidneys and heart. Potassium also plays a key role in regulating blood pressure. One potato provides a good source of potassium.
Potatoes May Cause Your Blood Sugar to Spike
Cooked potatoes have a relatively high glycemic index, which means the food raises blood sugar more quickly than others. Depending on the potato variety and cooking method, potatoes’ glycemic index can range from 50 to 111, according to 2022 research in Foods. (Russets are the highest.) Generally speaking, thanks to the added fiber, whole potatoes with the skin and sliced potatoes with the skin have a lower GI than plain mashed or diced potatoes.
Earlier research published in 2010 in The FASEB Journal also found that precooked, cooled and reheated potatoes could have a lower glycemic load than freshly cooked potatoes—it’s one strategy you may be able to use if you’re working on managing your blood sugar.
How much your blood sugar increases after eating potatoes also depends on your portion size and other foods in the meal. Combining potatoes with other high-fiber plant-based foods may help with better blood sugar control.
If you are concerned about how potatoes can spike your blood sugar, choose a potato variety with a lower GI, such as red potatoes and Nicola potatoes, enjoy smaller portions with your meals and include nonstarchy vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, green beans or leafy greens in your meal.
Certain Cooking Methods May Increase Dangerous Compounds in Potatoes
Acrylamide is a compound formed when natural sugars in potatoes and other plant-based foods interact with the amino acid asparagine under high heat. When you bake, roast and fry potatoes, there may be a higher chance of acrylamide forming, according to the Food and Drug Administration. (Frying causes the highest acrylamide formation.)
Animal studies have suggested that acrylamide may be linked to cancer, but the FDA says that it’s unknown if acrylamide poses any health risk to people.
Boiling and steaming potatoes, on the other hand, are less likely to lead to acrylamide formation. (You can decrease the formation of this compound by soaking raw potato slices in water for 15 to 30 minutes before high-heat cooking, says the FDA.) Eating foods with potentially higher levels of acrylamide, such as french fries and potato chips, in moderation is recommended.
Unripe Potatoes Could Be Toxic
Exposing potatoes directly to sunlight can lead to their white flesh turning green and sprouts forming. This indicates the formation of solanine, a bitter chemical that can be toxic if consumed in large quantities, says the USDA. When you see green appearing in a potato, it is best to throw it away.
To prevent solanine from forming, store potatoes in a cool, dry and dark environment, such as a basement, cellar, garage, kitchen drawer or cabinet or a paper bag. When stored between 45°F and 50°F, they can last up to two to three months.
Best Ways to Cook and Enjoy Potatoes
As a starchy vegetable, potatoes combine well with protein and a nonstarchy vegetable—together, they make a well-balanced meal. Leaving on the potato skin also adds extra fiber to your diet. You can enjoy potatoes by cooking them in several ways.
Boiling and Simmering
Enjoy a nutritious meal with our Salmon with Potatoes & Horseradish Sauce, where you bring the potatoes to a boil and then simmer until tender.
Need more veggies in your day? Add extra to your meal with our Southern Green Beans & Potatoes recipe.
If you crave cooled potatoes, our Curried Potato Salad also won’t disappoint.
Simply steaming whole potatoes until tender (about 15 minutes) creates a delicious side. Add herbs and spices for additional flavors.
Using the oven to roast potatoes either alone or with Brussels sprouts makes them an ideal side to go with your entree. Our German-Style Purple Potato Salad also uses roasted potatoes to offer an additional layer of flavor compared to the traditional German potato salad, which calls for boiled potatoes instead.
Air fryers are not only for making fries but also for making delicious baked potatoes.
Potatoes also pair well with soups, curries and salads. If you monitor your blood sugar levels, cook them tender but firm when piercing them with a fork.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it healthy to eat potatoes every day?
It is perfectly alright to eat potatoes every day, but how you prepare them and how much you eat also matters. Eating potatoes with skin on is recommended.
Are potatoes considered a bad carb?
Whole potatoes aren’t a bad carb. They provide many essential nutrients, like potassium, vitamin C and fiber. Potatoes also have resistant starches, which may contribute to supporting a healthy gut.
Are potatoes more nutritious than rice?
While both potatoes and rice are starchy, they differ in their nutritional offerings. If you love both starches, why not enjoy both? Just be mindful of your preparation and cooking methods and their portion size.
Who should avoid potatoes?
People who have decreased kidney function or kidney disease may need to keep an eye on the potato portions they consume, due to potatoes’ high potassium content. Speak with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to determine the appropriate amount based on your health.
The Bottom Line
It is totally fine to eat potatoes every day. While how you prepare and cook potatoes and how much you eat could possibly impact your health, whole potatoes with skin are a nutritious vegetable with health benefits. There are many ways to enjoy this versatile tuber—check out our Healthy Potato Recipes to get meal ideas and inspiration today!
The Key Role of Trustworthy Babysitters in Balancing Work and Family Life
Are you a busy parent in constant pursuit of the elusive work-life balance? We know firsthand how overwhelming and challenging it can be to juggle professional commitments while still having quality time with your children.
That’s why we’re here to discuss an essential ingredient that unlocks the secret to harmony: trustworthy babysitters.
What Characteristics Parents Should Look for When Choosing a Babysitter?
Parents should look for a few key characteristics when choosing a babysitter. A good babysitter should be patient, responsible, and reliable. They should also be comfortable with children and have prior experience caring for them.
Besides, the babysitter must be able to communicate effectively and follow directions well. The babysitter should be someone the parents can trust to care for their children in their absence.
Strategies for Parents to Establish Reasonable Anticipations
As a parent, finding babysitters you can trust to care for your children is vital. However, it is also important to establish reasonable expectations for your babysitters.
Some tips for establishing reasonable expectations for babysitters include:
- Set clear expectations: Sit down with your babysitter to discuss bedtime routines, dietary preferences, and any necessary medications.
- Allow flexibility: While clarity is vital, also provide room for your babysitter to use their judgment and feel comfortable in their role.
- Trust their expertise: Once expectations are set, trust your babysitter’s judgment as a professional caregiver to avoid undermining their authority and creating discomfort in their role.
Determining a Fair Payment Plan
Determine your babysitting budget, factoring in your income and family size, while researching local rates. Account for the babysitter’s experience and qualifications, giving preference to those recommended by trusted sources.
Engage in open negotiations with your chosen babysitter. This aims to find a mutually agreeable arrangement that accommodates both your budget and their needs.
Tips on Finding Trustworthy and Compassionate Caregivers
When seeking a caregiver for your child, to ensure you find the right fit:
- Seek recommendations from trusted sources such as friends, family, and neighbours who may have suggestions for caregivers in your area.
- Conduct online research to review feedback and check references to gauge candidates’ qualifications and experience.
- Request references and contact details from the caregivers’ previous employers or families they have worked with.
- Trust your instincts and ensure you feel at ease with the caregiver, ensuring they are someone you can entrust with your child’s well-being.
Being able to trust your babysitter means you can have peace of mind knowing your child is safe and cared for.
Spending some time researching online reviews or asking friends and family for recommendations will help you find the perfect fit so you can feel more at ease while juggling work commitments in today’s hectic world.
Facility-wide COVID-19 outbreak at Bethammi Nursing Home
THUNDER BAY — St. Joseph’s Care Group and the Thunder Bay District Health Unit have declared a facility-wide COVID-19 outbreak at Bethammi Nursing Home, part of the St. Joseph’s Heritage complex on Carrie Street near Red River Road.
The respiratory outbreak at the 112-bed facility was declared effective Sept. 15 but only announced publicly on Monday.
No details were provided with regard to the number of people affected to date.
Restrictions are now in place for admissions, transfers, discharges, social activities and visitation until further notice.
Alberta COVID hospitalizations up 73% since July: health minister
Three weeks after the start of the school year, Alberta’s health minister provided an update on the spread of airborne viruses in the province.
Adriana LaGrange also said more information about flu and next-generation COVID-19 vaccines will soon be released.
“Now that we will be spending more time indoors, we need to make doubly sure we are following proper hygiene protocols like handwashing and staying home when sick,” LaGrange said. “It also means respecting those who choose to wear a mask.”
Global News previously reported that influenza vaccines will be available on Oct. 16 with the new Moderna vaccine formulated to target the XBB.1.5 variant likely to be available at around the same time. On Sept. 12, Health Canada approved the use of the Moderna vaccine.
“More information on immunizations against respiratory viruses including influenza and COVID-19 will be available shortly,” the health minister said.
LaGrange said there have been 28 cases of influenza and five lab-confirmed cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) since Aug. 28.
“This is consistent activity for this time of the year,” the health minister said in a statement.
The end of August or the beginning of September has typically marked the beginning of flu season for provincial health authorities.
LaGrange also provided an update on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in the province.
From Aug. 28 to Sept. 8, there were a total 92 new hospitalizations and three ICU admissions, bringing the total to 417 in hospital and seven in ICU, a 73 per cent increase of COVID hospitalizations from the last reported info.
On July 24 – the last update to the province’s COVID data dashboard – there were only 242 in hospital.
“Sadly, five Albertans died during that period due to COVID-19,” LaGrange said.
LaGrange said the reporting dashboard is being refreshed to include RSV, influenza and COVID-19 data, work that was originally expected to be completed on Aug. 30. The latest data on the province’s influenza statistics dashboard is dated July 22.
“This work is currently underway and will be available in the coming weeks,” LaGrange said.
She said data for the dates between July 24 and Aug. 27 will be available when the new dashboard goes online.
Amid more hospitals continent-wide reinstating masking requirements in the face of increased hospitalizations, the health minister made no mention of any such moves for Alberta hospitals. Acute care COVID-19 outbreaks in Alberta jumped from Sept. 5 to 12, with 146 per cent more healthcare workers and 55 per cent more patients testing positive for COVID.
LaGrange stressed the “collective responsibility” to prevent the spread of airborne viruses like COVID and influenza.
“As a mother and grandmother, I understand the anxiety that comes with sending your children back to school. I want to reassure you that Alberta’s government has the health and well-being of all young Albertans top of mind,” the health minister said.
–with files from Meghan Cobb, Global News
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