Potatoes with skin are an excellent source of potassium, which is great for cardiovascular health. In fact, potatoes qualify for a health claim approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which states: Diets containing foods that are a good source of potassium and that are low in sodium may reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke. Just one potato offers 21 percent of the Daily Value for potassium. Potassium also helps retain calcium, which is important to build strong bones.
For vitamin C, don’t just think oranges — think potatoes! Potatoes are one of the leading sources of vitamin C in the American diet. This vitamin is a potent antioxidant that helps stabilize free radicals, which may prevent cellular damage. Vitamin C also produces the collagen that helps hold bone tissue together.
One medium potato (5.3 ounces) with skin contains three grams, or 12 percent of the recommended daily intake for fiber. Preliminary studies show that fiber is beneficial for a healthy digestive system and may help reduce the risk of some cancers and possibly heart disease. According to researchers at Pennsylvania State University, consuming adequate fiber and water helps increase satiety between meals.
Antioxidants protect key cell components by neutralizing the damaging effects of “free radicals,” natural byproducts of cell metabolism. Free radicals travel through cells, disrupting the structure of other molecules, causing cellular damage. Such cell damage is believed to contribute to aging and various health problems.Potatoes contain glutathione, an antioxidant that may possibly help protect against some cancers. Per serving, potatoes, along with avocados, asparagus, squash, okra, cauliflower, broccoli and raw tomatoes, have the highest glutathione content compared to other vegetables.In a study comparing the overall antioxidant activity of potatoes, bell peppers, carrots, onions and broccoli, potatoes ranked second highest after broccoli.
Top a split baked potato with canned black beans, cooked frozen corn, nonfat sour cream and your favorite salsa.
Use a potato as a base for simple stir-fried vegetables. Stir-fry cut-up zucchini, carrots, green or red bell pepper and broccoli. Season with low-sodium soy sauce; spoon over a split baked potato.
Spoon prepared chili over a split baked potato. Top with green onions, low fat shredded cheddar cheese and nonfat sour cream.
Source: United States Potato Board and the American Dietetic Association.
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