10 Proven Health Benefits of Potatoes That You Need to Know About

Are potatoes good for you?

The potato, more than maybe every other veggie, comes with an undeserved negative reputation that’s led a lot of health-conscious individuals to exclude them from their diet. Talk about ‘potato’ and folks assume ‘high-carbs, empty calories, fattening’.

In fact, whenever prepared free of frying and served with no margarine, sour or cream butter, 1 spud has just 110 calories and lots of healthy vitamins and phytochemicals.

Regrettably for potato chip and French fry lovers, those high cooking temperatures appear to destroy almost all of the healthy compounds inside a potato, leaving mostly starch and fat.

1. Do potatoes make you fat?

Potatoes are one of the foods that are generally shunned by people trying to manage their weight, but research has determined that there is no evidence to suggest an association between eating potatoes and risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes.

Research has also demonstrated that people can incorporate potatoes into their diet and still lose weight. Researchers studied 86 overweight women and men over twelve weeks to determine how a reduced calorie diet with the addition of potatoes affected weight loss.

The individuals were randomly allocated to 3 groups and one group had a diet that included 5 to 7 helpings of potatoes each week. The outcomes showed that the potato group did not gain weight, and all 3 groups actually lost weight.1✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
DOI: 10.1080/07315724.2013.875441

The soluble fiber in potatoes can also help with weight loss by providing a longer feeling of fullness. The resistant starch in potatoes takes up space in the GI tract which helps in slowing down digestion, and this will also keep you feeling full for longer.

A study has revealed that overweight women lost weight and kept it off when eating low energy-dense foods which included potatoes. The researchers concluded that the low energy-dense foods helped the study participants stay full throughout the day without having to resort to high energy-dense foods.2✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
DOI: 10.1093/jn/nxy041

How many calories in a potato?

A baked potato without any topping is contains only 93 calories per 100g, which makes it a low calorie food. In addition, not every calorie is actually absorbed because the resistant starch in potatoes is not easily digestible. The potato is not the problem with regards to weight gain, the problem is the way the potato is cooked. The amount of calories in potatoes depends very much on the cooking method as demonstrated in the table below:

How many calories in a potato comparison table

Cooking method

Amount of calories per 100g
How many calories in boiled potatoes
87 calories per 100g
How many calories in a baked potato
93 calories per 100g
How many calories in roast potatoes
149 calories per 100g
How many calories in french fries
312 calories per 100g
How many calories in hash browns
326 calories per 100g
How many calories in potato chips
545 calories per 100g

Potato nutrition facts:

Potatoes are an excellent source of several nutrients, such as vitamins C and B6, potassium, pantothenic acid, niacin and dietary fiber. The protein in potatoes contain lysine, an essential amino acid generally absent in grains.

What is the nutritional value of potatoes per 100g:

  • How many calories in a potato – 77

  • How much protein in a potato – 2g

  • How many carbs in a potato – 17g

  • What is the fat content of a potato – 0.1g

Are all the nutrients in the skin of the potato?

No, the idea that all of the nutrients in potatoes are found in the skins is a complete myth.

Are potatoes gluten free?

Although potatoes are naturally gluten-free, labels on products derived from potatoes should be checked for any ingredients that contain gluten.

2. Is raw potato juice good for rheumatoid arthritis?

Raw potato juice can help to get rid of the pain and discomfort caused by rheumatoid arthritis. Raw potato juice is used in Korean folk medicine for improving the quality of life in individuals suffering from  rheumatoid arthritis pain.

A study making use of an ethanol extract of potatoes which mimicked raw potato juice has shown that the extract has anti-inflammatory and pain killing activities.3✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE

DOI: 09540100500064320

A raw potato juice treatment for arthritis should however not be started without first consulting a nutritionist or therapist.

How to make potato juice?

Peel your potatoes before juicing. Carrot juice can be added when juicing raw potatoes to make it more palatable, or add some fresh lemon juice with honey. Two tsp of raw potato juice should be taken just before meals. Avoid making use of any potatoes that are turning green, see below.

Are raw potatoes poisonous?

Potatoes contain a type of chemical compound known as glycoalkaloids, which can be toxic when consumed in large quantities. Chaconine and solanine are two types of glycoalkaloids found in potatoes, especially in potatoes that are turning green.4✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
DOI: 10.1016/0278-6915(96)87354-6
Glycoalkaloids are formed through exposure to sunlight.5✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
DOI: 10.1007/bf01092209

Potatoes exposed to sunlight produce a kind of plant pigment known as chlorophyll, which is what results in potatoes turning green. Store potatoes to avoid sunlight exposure.

3. Do potatoes lower blood pressure?

Research has shown that eating potatoes only once or twice every day can reduce high blood pressure nearly as much as oatmeal without leading to weight gain.6✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
DOI: 10.1021/jf2045262

The study was done eating potatoes prepared without oil. Even though the scientists made use of purple-skinned potatoes, they say that eating potatoes with red skins as well as white potatoes could have the same outcomes.

In the research, 18 individuals who had been primarily overweight with high blood pressure consumed 6 to 8 purple potatoes together with skins twice a day for a month. They utilized purple potatoes due to the fact that the pigment, or color, in vegetables and fruit is particularly full of valuable phytochemicals.

Researchers examined the individuals’ blood pressure, both diastolic and systolic. The average diastolic blood pressure decreased by 4.3% and the systolic blood pressure dropped by 3.5%.  Nearly all subjects took high blood pressure drugs yet still experienced a decrease in blood pressure. Not one of the individuals gained weight.

Other research has uncovered compounds in potatoes with effects within the body much like the ones from the commonly used ACE-inhibitor drugs, a mainstay for the treatment of high blood pressure. Various other phytochemicals found in potatoes exist in quantities that can compare to broccoli, spinach as well as Brussels sprouts, and could also be involved.

Researchers have identified potatoes as being the lowest cost source of dietary potassium, a nutrient lacking in the American diet, and important for reducing the risk of high blood pressure. One medium potato with skin provides 18% of the recommended daily value of potassium.

4 . Are potatoes good for cancer?

Potatoes are high in lectins and while some kinds of lectins can lead to adverse reactions, there are also lectins which could help in reducing incidence of some diseases. Despite the fact that potatoes contain high levels of lectins, for most individuals they don’t result in any negative effects.

One study has discovered that some types of potatoes were associated with a decrease in inflammation.7✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
DOI: 10.3945/jn.110.128074

Research has also revealed that lectins like those present in potatoes inhibit cancer cell growth.8✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
DOI: 10.5897/AJB2014.13633

5. Are potatoes good for the bones?

Minerals in potatoes such as phosphorous, magnesium and calcium help with the maintenance of bone strength and structure.

The zinc and iron in potatoes play an important part in the production of collagen, the 2nd most abundant component of the bones.

6. Are potatoes good for cholesterol?

Potatoes not cooked or prepared with oil, butter or cream are fat and cholesterol free.

Potatoes contain significant amounts of soluble and insoluble dietary fiber, which can help to lower blood cholesterol. Approximately half of the fiber in a potato is however found in the skin, so removing the skin takes away a lot of the fiber.

Although potatoes on their own are healthy, many of the ways they are prepared are not. Frying or roasting potatoes in oil adds fat, which are can contribute to high cholesterol levels.

7. Are potatoes good for the heart?

The potassium, fiber, vitamin B-6 and vitamin C content in potatoes provide support for a healthy heart.

Diets which are high in foods rich in vitamin B6 are associated with reduced rates of heart disease. Vitamin B6 plays an important role in methylation, a process which changes homocysteine into methionin. Excess homocysteine can damage blood vessel walls, and high homocysteine levels are associated with an increased heart attack and stroke risk.

The cholesterol lowering properties of potatoes also help to reduce risk of heart disease.

8. Are potatoes good for the skin?

The vitamin C in potatoes is an essential nutrient for collagen, the support system for the skin.

Vitamin C promotes the ability of collagen to improve skin texture and smooth wrinkles.

9. Are potatoes good for the nervous system?

The B vitamins in potatoes help to support adrenal function, calming and maintaining a healthy nervous system.

Vitamin B6 helps in production of neurotransmitters, which are the chemicals that allow brain and nerve cells to communicate with one another.

10. Are potatoes good for the muscles?

Carbohydrates are an important part of a post-exercise recovery meal. Glycolysis is the breakdown of carbohydrates and it’s important that enough carbohydrates are consumed to fuel glycolysis during and after activity.

The carbohydrates from safe starches such as potatoes can rapidly replenish liver glycogen stores.9✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
PMID: 15308499
The potassium in potatoes is also vital for helping muscles contract.

Where do potatoes come from?

Potatoes are indigenous to Peru, where they have been cultivated by the Inca Indians since around 200 B.C. These vegetables were introduced into Ireland during the early part of the 16th century where they became popular. The tragic Irish Potato Famine took up to a million lives from disease and hunger.

The potato was taken to the U.S. by Irish immigrants during the early 18th century where it soon became extensively cultivated. Together with the United States, other main producers of potatoes are Poland, the Russian Federation, China and India.

Do Potatoes Make You Fat