Washington Potatoes Are Nutritious
It's quite amazing what an unassuming tuber can contain. Within its red, yellow, purple, white or brown protective exterior, a potato can provide much of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of a number of vitamins and minerals.
For example, potatoes have about 620 mg of potassium-that's more than a banana. Potassium is essential to the body because of its role in attaining optimal muscle performance and improving the nerves' response to stimulation. Iron, essential in helping the body convert food to energy as well as resist infection, is also present.
One would expect potatoes to have minerals, as they spend their life underground. But potatoes are also a great source of vitamins, even supplying vitamin C, which is essential to help maintain healthy connective tissue and heal wounds. The many varieties of Washington potatoes are also good sources of B vitamins, helping the body make healthy red blood cells and amino acids.
Potatoes contain no fat or cholesterol and minimal sodium. What they do have is natural fiber in the skins, all those vitamins and minerals and great flavor. And a six-ounce potato contains 2 grams of highly digestible protein, almost as much as half a glass of milk, making it a great foundation for a whole meal.
Because of the variety of potato colors, shapes, sizes and textures and their versatility as recipe ingredients, you can have potatoes for breakfast, lunch or dinner (or all three) and support the daily fruit and vegetable servings recommended for good health and nutrition.
One of the most popular nutritional myths today concerns the dietary evils of carbohydrates. Despite the media hype, scientific evidence indicates that when consumed in normal amounts...
• Carbohydrates DO NOT cause weight gain and obesity
• Carbohydrates DO NOT automatically cause blood sugar "spikes" and insulin "surges"
• Carbohydrates DO NOT cause diabetes, heart disease or cancer.
Carbohydrates are the body's primary fuel source. Muscles prefer them and the brain relies on them. In fact, carbohydrates are so crucial to the body that if you severely cut them from your diet, your body will begin to breakdown muscle and other protein-containing tissues-your heart and other vital organs-in order to make them.
WATCHING YOUR WEIGHT—AND HEALTH Leading nutrition experts agree that weight gain is a result of consuming more calories than you expend, regardless of where those calories come from—carbohydrates, protein or fat.
Maintaining that important calorie balance is easier with a diet that is rich in a variety of fruits and vegetables, as these foods tend to be low in calorie content, yet high in essential nutrients.
THE HEALTHFUL POTATO
Misinformation and misconceptions regarding the nutritional value of the potato abound. In fact, an average (~5.3 oz) potato with the skin contains:
• 45% of the daily value for vitamin C
• 620 mg potassium, comparable to bananas, spinach and broccoli
• trace amounts of thiamin, riboflavin, folate, magnesium, phosphorous, iron and zinc
• all for only 110 calories and no fat.
And potatoes with the skin on are an excellent source of fiber. In fact, with 2 grams of fiber per serving, a potato equals or exceeds that of many "whole" grain products-whole grain bread, whole wheat pasta and many cereals.
Despite the popular notion, the majority of nutrients are not found in the skin, but in the potato itself. Nonetheless, leaving the skin on the potatoes retains all the nutrients, the fiber in the skin and makes potatoes easier to prepare.