Are Potatoes Healthy or Unhealthy?

Sure, a potato is a vegetable—but is it healthy? Let's investigate.  

Are Potatoes Good For You?

Cooking dinner shouldn't be complicated

Potatoes Getty 4/15/20

Yes! Plain baked or roasted potatoes are actually quite healthy. So why do they get a bad rap? 

Well, potatoes are often associated with fried, processed, and high-calorie foods. But it’s not the potato that makes those things unhealthy—it’s how they’re prepared and what goes on them, like excessive oils and butters. 

Related: How Long Should You Boil Potatoes For Mashing?

But What About Fries? 

French Fries Getty 4/15/20

The most commonly consumed vegetables in the U.S. are potatoes and tomatoes (tomatoes are considered vegetables in the culinary sense), according to the USDA. 

Are you imagining a bunch of bright-eyed Americans snacking on fresh produce? Think again. 

“French fries and pizza sauce contribute to the high consumption of these two vegetables,” says USDA data from 2017. 

Well, that’s kind of a bummer—but it totally makes sense. If people associate potatoes with French fries, it’s no wonder the root veggie is often considered a bad-for-you indulgence. 

Now, don’t misunderstand us: We’ve got absolutely nothing against fries. Seriously, we love ‘em. But, as with many things, moderation is key when it comes to indulging in the salty, greasy fried potatoes. 

Potato Health Benefits

Peeling Potatoes Getty 4/15/20

Potatoes have also fallen out of favor lately because of a recent surge in popularity of low-carb diets. While potatoes are high in starch (a complex carbohydrate), that’s not a bad thing—carbohydrates are your body’s main source of energy. 

Here are some other nutritional highlights of potatoes: 

  • Because they’re high in nutrients like iron, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, and zinc, potatoes can help build and maintain bone health. 
  • Potatoes are rich in fiber, which promotes good digestion, heart health, and weight loss. 
  • A high vitamin C content means potatoes can help boost immunity. 
  • Choline, which is abundant in potatoes, can reduce inflammation and enhance mood and memory. 

Related: How to Keep Potatoes Fresh For Longer

Healthy Potato Recipes

Salsa-Roasted Potatoes

Want to reap the full benefits of potatoes without sacrificing taste? Try one of our favorite healthy potato recipes: 

  • Salsa-Roasted Potatoes
  • Air Fryer Baked Potato
  • Pan Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
  • Crispy Potatoes with Chorizo
  • Roasted Greek-Style Potatoes

Not-Exactly-Healthy (But Delicious) Potato Recipes

Everything in moderation, right?

  • Jalapeño Popper Mashed Potato Bake
  • Cheesy Potato Casserole
  • Loaded Mashed Potatoes
  • Rotel Potatoes Aligots
  • Crockpot Funeral Potatoes

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