8 secret health, beauty and weight-loss benefits of potatoes

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  • Is it just us, or do we often think of potatoes as the bad guys when it comes to healthy eating?

    We’re definitely guilty of diving straight for the brightly-coloured veggies that we associate with containing our vital vitamins and minerals, whilst dismissing the boring beige potato. The spud may look humble, but don’t underestimate it. An abundance of vitamin C, vitamin B and fibre are just some of the benefits – and here’s some more reasons to add them into your diet now.

    They can actually help you lose weight

    We’re guilty of branding potatoes as a starchy carb and dismissing them as a huge diet no-go. However, not all starch is bad. In fact, potatoes contain resistant starch. This particular type of starch molecule resists digestion in the stomach and the small intestine – simply adding bulk and making us feel fuller for longer.

    But the goodness doesn’t stop there! When it reaches the gut, the molecules feed the friendly bacteria that live there which then produce short chain fatty acids that have been proven to increase fat burn by 20 to 30%. What’s more, a small potato only contains 130 calories, making it a good option for those on a calorie-controlled diet! Better pop a few extra roasties on our plates this Sunday then…

    They regulate our energy levels

    Potatoes are often thought of as the bad guys when it comes to spiking your blood sugar levels. This is because we assume that as a high G.I. (that’s glycemic index…) food, their sugars are released quickly into our system as they are broken down. However, recent studies show that when eating carbohydrates accompanied by resistant starch, we can see lower blood sugar and better insulin regulation.

    In short, blood sugar control means more sustainable energy levels. So potatoes, which contain both, are the perfect way to fulfil our carb-charged cravings and give us that all important energy boost without experiencing the horrible sugar highs and lows that we associate with many starchy foods.

    They can boost our immune system

    Turns out the baked potato, our go-to easy dinner, has been helping us fight off the dreaded lurgy. Not only does a medium-sized baked potato contain about 45% of your recommended daily intake of immunity-boosting vitamin C which helps the absorption of other nutrients too, but they have also been found to contain high levels of flavanoid antioxidants which help fight against asthma, heart disease and even cancer.

    They help us stay looking young

    Collagen is a word we usually associate with a pot of anti-aging cream. But it’s actually a substance that our bodies make all on its own, and it keeps our skin looking young and plump! The vitamin C and iron found in potatoes promote our body’s production of this wonder-molecule, which is the key to youthful skin and shiny hair.

    Furthermore, the whole wealth of anti-oxidants in spuds helps protect our skin from damage and helps our cells repair themselves. Sounds very a-peeling to us.

    They keep us happy

    This surprisingly goes further than just enjoying tucking into a plate of chips! Potatoes contain high levels of vitamin B6, which is used for the creation of neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin. These keep our mood balanced, and a lack of them can lead to mental health problems such as depression.

    Vitamin B6 plays a huge role in the making of stress-fighting hormones, namely epinephrine and GABA, which help chill us out when we feel uptight and anxious. So craving chips when we’re down in the dumps has plenty of reason behind it, but try swapping the fries for a baked potato for a healthy blues booster.

    They can lower our blood pressure

    A study found that eating six small potatoes with lunch and dinner was effective in reducing blood sugar when standard medication could reduce it no further. This is due to the high levels of potassium found in potatoes, since there’s about 45% of your daily allowance in a medium sized spud – that’s even more than a banana!

    Potassium functions as a vasodilator, which means it widens our blood vessels and allows blood to flow more freely. Our trusty tatties also contain fibre, calcium and magnesium, which have all been found to naturally lower blood pressure.

    They can even be juiced

    Move over green juice, potato juice is the new go-to health craze. Although eating raw potatoes would be pretty disgusting, when we extract the juice and pop a bit of honey in it, we get all the nutrients without having to gnaw on a raw spud.

    Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, potato juice is just making its debut among health food circles, where it’s known as a miraculous cure for a wide array of problems, including stomach ulcers and arthritis. Dubbed as a magic healing potion, you can glug this down and reap its benefits.

    They can be used for your skin too!

    It turns out potatoes don’t just work wonders for our insides, but can be great on the outside too! Spuds are a natural skin brightener, so sticking a couple of raw potato slices under your eyes first thing in the morning can help rid you of any pesky dark circles. Due to their high levels of vitamin C and other minerals, potatoes are brilliant for rejuvenating your tired skin.

    A homemade potato face-mask is your go-to remedy for getting rid of dark spots and scars, and a mix of olive oil and potato juice works as a fab anti-aging treatment. So before you pop your roasties in the oven, don’t forget to spare a few for your new spud-based skincare range!

    How do you like your spuds? Let us know in the comments below!