4 Health Benefits Of Potatoes

Well yes, potatoes may not have the best reputation in the world of healthful diets. But the downsides, experts say, often have to do with how they are prepared and processed. For instance, deep frying them and adding too much of oil, salt, butter, etc.

But when prepared in a healthy manner in the right portion size, the root vegetable can provide a number of nutritional benefits:

1. They could help reduce blood pressure

Potatoes might be a double-edged sword in terms of their influence on blood pressure. While their glycemic load has been linked to an increase, triggering much debate, studies suggest a possible risk reduction. This has been attributed to their high potassium content, most of which is found in the skin of the vegetable.

In one study, purple potatoes in particular was linked to a decrease in diastolic and systolic pressure in overweight individuals. Unlike regular white ones, this variety is rich in anthocyanins and carotenoids.

2. They can help you feel more satiated

Potatoes consumed as a part of a balanced diet can help induce a feeling of fullness. Gabrielle Maston, spokesperson for the Dietitians Association of Australia, referred to the vegetable as one of the most hunger satisfying foods available. "If you have a raging appetite all the time, then potatoes are a good food source that will help you to curb your appetite," she said.

Appetite aside, their high fiber content can also help with how your body processes your meals. Especially in the case of sweet potatoes, the soluble fiber in the guts can help slow down digestion and helps in managing weight, said dietitian Lindsay Malone from the Cleveland Clinic, Ohio.

3. They can be beneficial for the brain

The starchy vegetable is among the best dietary sources of vitamin B6, estimated to provide nearly 0.37-0.60 mg in a single medium-sized serving. Studies have suggested that B6 can play a beneficial role in the brain development of children and could also slow down cognitive decline in older adults.

In related benefits, it helps the body release various hormones (serotonin, norepinephrine, and melatonin) that can regulate your mood, help in dealing with stress, and have a healthy sleep cycle.  

4. They can provide a boost for athletes

"Potatoes can help restore electrolyte balance," said Victoria Jarzabkowski, a nutritionist with the Fitness Institute of Texas at The University of Texas. "Sodium and potassium, which are found in potato peels, are two important electrolytes, and athletes lose them in sweat." 

The sweet variety, which is rich in vitamin A, is considered to be one of the best carbs for active individuals to keep up with their high energy demands. Their potassium content can also help the body maintain fluid levels and soothe sore muscles.