Many foods are not well-known for their health benefits. Granola is one example. It may contain a lot of sugar and fat. The same applies to yogurt. Baked potatoes gained popularity as a diet food in the 1980s. However, baked potatoes can quickly become secret calorie- and sodium bombs when they are stuffed with chili, sour cream, butter, and other accompaniments. Potatoes have a bad reputation in an age when many people choose low-carb, or even non-carb, diets. This has created a lot of conflicting information. Are baked potatoes healthy?
They Don’t Have As Many Carbs As You Might Believe.
Potatoes have earned a reputation for being high-carb foods. They are used to store energy and nourish new potatoes, so they need to be packed with readily available sugar sources. However, baked potatoes are still lower in carbs than white rice or pasta. A medium potato may contain around 37 grams of carbohydrates while a small one might only have 15 grams.
Potato carbs can also undergo a chemical reaction after cooling and heating. These carbohydrates become “resistant starch,” which is a harder starch to digest. Refrigerating potatoes at least a day in advance and then baking them the next day increases the amount of resistant starch. This helps lower the potato’s glycemic loads.
Baked Potatoes Have High Fiber Content.
A lot of fiber is found in potatoes, with 4 grams per medium-sized vegetable. Fiber improves heart health, balances blood lipids and feeds beneficial microbes. It also slows sugar absorption and helps to carry out toxins by bulking up the stool. Fiber can increase your feelings of satisfaction by taking up space within the stomach and intestines.
A person’s fiber content is usually a sign of its quality. High-quality diets are those that include lots of fresh, minimally-processed vegetables and fruits. Whole grains also contain fiber.
They Are High In Potassium.
A baked potato has more potassium than a banana. Potassium regulates blood pressure and heart rate and is vital for the proper functioning of all cells. Without potassium, you may experience muscle cramps or headaches, anxiety or a rapid or irregular heartbeat.
Potatoes Contain Protein.
Although many people believe potatoes are just carbohydrate bombs like other foods, it is not true. A medium potato also contains approximately 4 grams of protein. It is interesting to note that potato protein can be considered a “complete protein” meaning it contains all necessary amino acids for animal life. However, they are very low in tryptophan, histidine and methionine so it is important to eat a diet that provides these amino acids.
The Short Answer
Yes, a baked potato is healthy.
In a balanced, healthy diet, potatoes are a good option. This is where the problem lies: preparation. The best thing about plain baked potatoes is their high level of fiber, vitamins and minerals. It is also low in fat, sodium, and calories. It’s possible to make or break potatoes by adding condiments, so it is important to choose carefully what condiments you will add.
- You can substitute sour milk for fat-free Greek Yogurt with a splash of lemon juice.
- Try making your chili instead. Chili freezes well. You can portion it and store it for later
- Limit the amount you use of cheese. Don’t buy pre-made cheeses or cheese dips.
- You can add all the low-sodium seasonings, chives and herbs you like.
- You can also use full-fat milk. When you do, be sure to measure every serving.
Due to their popularity as a quick food, potatoes have been given a bad name. A healthy addition to any diet, potatoes can be eaten on their own. A baked potato is a great option for everyone, provided you have the right preparation techniques and condiments.