We're here with a little myth busting in defense of potatoes: potatoes are healthy. Gasp! What? Yeah, seriously. It seems like many food groups can catch a bad rap these days, so we're going to set the record straight when it comes to taters, with a little help from the Vitamin Shoppe nutritionist Brian Tanzer. Here's what you need to know.
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- They're loaded with vitamins and minerals. Potatoes (with skins) are super high in B6, as well as potassium — twice as much as a banana. They have tons of fiber and a good amount of protein, iron, manganese, magnesium, and vitamin C. They're like a multivitamin, unless you turn them into french fries, in which case you've fried your multivitamin. Why would you do that?! Tanzer reminds you to eat the whole thing, including the skin, which "contains half the total fiber and important trace minerals."
- Potatoes have relaxing properties. The high levels of B vitamins and magnesium are great ways to naturally manage stress and anxiety.
- Starches are not evil. And they're not created equally, either. Potatoes are a polysaccharide, which can actually help with weight loss, as long as you don't have a condition that inhibits you from digesting them.
- Stop frying them all the time! Don't lose the nutritional value by making them into french fries or loaded skins. Tanzer recommends "cutting open a baked potato and drizzle on some olive oil with a pinch of sea salt or pepper," which would make a nutritious side dish or filling midday snack.
- Portion size is key, especially if you have blood sugar issues. Tanzer says to stick to a small- or medium-size potato if you're dealing with blood sugar levels or monitoring your glycemic index, as potatoes are pretty high on the GI (85).