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Potato Nutrition

One potato equals one cup of the 2-½ cups of vegetables each of us is supposed to consume every day, and potato nutrition is a healthy addition to our diet. Since most of the vitamins and minerals in a potato are in the skin, you get the most nutrients when you consume the potato with the skin on it. Potatoes have zero fat, cholesterol, and sodium and when they are first picked have 80% water content and 20% dry content. The key to eating healthy and keeping the most potato nutrition intact is to prepare them adding as little fat as possible.

Potatoes are a good source of complex carbohydrates and unlike other less healthy forms are full of vitamins and minerals in good quantities. They are so high in potassium that they rank in the top twenty in potassium content among the twenty most consumed raw vegetables and fruits. Potassium can lower blood pressure and it is used by the nervous system in sending signals that tell our muscles to contract. One potato has 620 mg of potassium, which is 18% of our daily need. Thirty-three percent of all Americans have high blood pressure and only six percent of all men and women are getting the recommended 4700 mg of potassium per day.

Vitamin C is another important part of potato nutrition. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that prevents cellular damage from free radicals It also contributes to immune system health, helps in the absorption of iron, the production of collagen, and in healing cuts and wounds. Vitamin C works to keep your gums healthy. What is a sometimes well-hidden potato nutrition fact is that it contains 45% of our daily vitamin C needs. That is more than tomatoes or sweet potatoes.

As a source of fiber, one medium-size potato contains 2 grams which is 8% of the daily recommended intake. Fiber helps to lower cholesterol and slows the release of sugar into the blood stream. Another vitamin potatoes have that has does some important work in our bodies is vitamin B6. This vitamin helps the body to create the non-essential amino acids its needs in order to make proteins. Several enzymes need B6 for energy metabilization and for hemoglobin synthesis necessary in the creation of red blood cells. In addition, one potato provides approximately six percent of the body’s much needed iron.

Potatoes are not only full of good nutrients themselves, but they can be combined with other foods to provide even more. For instance, they can be mixed with onions or spinach, roasted with mushrooms, onions, different colored peppers, tofu, herbs and carrots or used to create several different types of salads.

Potatoes are a good food and very healthy, especially if you keep it simple and stay away from deep frying them in fat or covering them with fattening sour cream or lots of cheese. And remember--keep the skins so you don’t lose those precious vitamins.


 

 


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