10 Healthy Reasons to Dig Into Red Potatoes

BY Leah Brakke

As a “white food”, potatoes are often lumped together with white bread and white pasta, which are considered off limits when trying to eat healthy. However, with only about 110 calories, 45% of your daily value of vitamin C, more potassium than a banana, naturally fat-free, zero sodium or cholesterol – based on science alone, red potatoes should be a part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.

Red potatoes can have an enormous impact on health. There are so many methods and reasons to incorporate wholesome red potatoes into a daily diet and lifestyle. Here are 10.

  1. Increased Overall Vegetable Consumption
    What better way to introduce or excite people (especially kids) to eating veggies, then adding them to an already healthy red potato? Research, commissioned by the US Potato Board, and presented at The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) Conference in Washington, D.C., has shown that potatoes do not displace other vegetables on the plate but that they actually have been proven to increase servings of veggies at mealtime.
    Hint: Use red potatoes with the skins in mashed potatoes and add peas, beans, carrots and other veggies, and call it “Confetti Mashed Potatoes”.
  2. Lower Stress Levels
    Red potatoes have at least 10% of the recommended daily value of Vitamin B6. This vitamin is crucial for cellular renewal, a healthy nervous system and a balanced mood. The addition of this vitamin along with the other health benefits of red potatoes will help with everyday stress and also lower cholesterol and help prevent heart disease. In order to get the maximum about of B6 out of your potatoes, is roast or bake red potatoes.
  3. Increased Energy
    Baked, mashed, or boiled, red potatoes actually provide more energy-delivering complex carbohydrates than a cup of pasta. Rich in complex carbohydrates and other vitamins, potatoes are a fantastic fuel for our bodies. Unadulterated and unprocessed, they are probably the best and most delicious source of starchy energy possible in our diets. In a world where many carbohydrates are so processed that they are devoid of essential nutrients, the red potato stands head and shoulders above the rest, naturally.
    Red on Tred
  4. Naturally Fat Free
    That’s it. The bad stuff associated with potatoes comes from the different ways of preparing or topping regular potatoes. With red potatoes, there’s a naturally buttery flavor and moist texture. Boil, roast or bake a red potato, include some fresh herbs and seasonings, add fresh veggies, and it’s still delicious and fat free.
  5. Healthy Blood Pressure
    Naturally sodium free and high in potassium, red potatoes are a major contributor of maintaining a healthy blood pressure. In order to keep cells, nerves and body fluids in your body healthy, potassium is essential, and sodium is dangerous. Red potatoes have more potassium per serving that ANY OTHER fruit of vegetable.
    Did you know: A banana has 9% of your daily needs in terms of potassium. A red potato has almost 20%.
  6. Naturally Gluten Free
    Weather you have gluten intolerance, or are on a gluten free diet, potatoes should still be an essential part of your daily diet. A common misconception is that gluten and carbohydrates are basically the same thing. They are not. White vegetables are not the same as white flour. Carbohydrates consist of sugar, while gluten is a group of proteins.
    Hint: Use small roasted potatoes instead of croutons in your salad or use slices of potatoes, bake in the oven, and use in place of crusty bread for bruschetta.
  7. Immunity Support
    Potatoes have 45% of our daily-recommended allowance of Vitamin C. While the skin on a red potato provides most of the fiber, it is the inside of a red potato that is jam packed with Vitamin C. This nutrient is vital to our overall health, helping to repair body tissue and providing antioxidants. This is more vitamin C than what a tomato provides. However, topping a baked red potato with fresh tomatoes & a little basil does sound delicious.
  8. Be Full, Longer
    One medium red potato (with the skin) contains 3g of dietary fiber per serving. Red potatoes provide a great source of fiber because the skin, where the majority of the fiber is located, is consumed regardless of the preparation. Not only is this a gut-health benefit, but also because the fiber gives potatoes their substance, which will help you feel full longer. The same amount of fiber in potatoes is found in many whole grain breads, pastas, and cereals.
    Salad Red
  9. Improved Cell Function
    Iron has a critical role within cells assisting in oxygen utilization, enzymatic systems, especially for neural development, and overall cell function everywhere in the body. A baked red potato has about 6% of the recommended daily value of Iron. Potatoes alone are a great way to get Iron in a balanced, but it’s also a great idea if feeling anemic to add a potato to pureed vegetable soups — the potato adds creaminess while the vitamin C in the other veggies promotes iron absorption. If you eat meat, serving a square meal of meat, potatoes and vegetables will allow you to absorb the iron from your potatoes.
  10. The Red Skin
    Much of the nutritional value of a potato is found in its skin. Red potatoes are particularly healthy because of the thin, nutrient filled skins, which are loaded with fiber, B vitamins, iron and potassium. Half of the fiber of a potato comes from the skin. On red potatoes in particular, the skin is already super thin, so it doesn’t detract from the taste or texture.
    Black Gold Farms grows potatoes. That’s what we do. We are not nutritionists or doctors; so most of this information is from other sources that know much more about the health factor of red potatoes then we do. However, we feed our families red potatoes. Regularly. We’ve been in the potato business for over 80 years. We’re passionate about the food we grow. We love potatoes – everything about them. We want everyone else to be as passionate as we are about the food we grow. It’s our responsibility as farmers to not only grow that food safely, but to ensure families understand what it is they are eating.

Confetti Mashed Potatoes:
1 1/4 lbs. red potatoes, with skin on
1 small chopped onion
1 1/2 tablespoons healthy butter spread
1/2 cup shredded zucchini
1/3 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup each: nonfat plain yogurt and fat-free milk
1/4 teaspoon sea salt (or 1/2 teaspoon garlic or seasoned salt)
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Place whole potatoes (do not poke) into microwave-safe dish. Cover dish. (If covering dish with plastic wrap, poke small hole in plastic.) Microwave on HIGH for 10 to 12 minutes depending on strength of microwave. While potatoes are cooking, sauté onion in the butter spread for 10 minutes over medium heat.  Stir in zucchini and carrot; cook for 3 minutes more.  Use oven mitts to remove dish from microwave; carefully remove cover and mash well. Stir in yogurt, milk, butter spread and seasonings to hot mashed potatoes.  Add butter spread mixture, yogurt, milk and seasonings. Cook for a minute or 2 more to heat if necessary.

Red Potato Bruchetta:
1 lb. small red potatoes
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (to taste)
2 cups diced fresh ripe tomato
2/3 cup small fresh mozzarella pearls (or 1/4 inch cubes)
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar (can substitute with regular balsamic vinegar)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup snipped fresh basil

Preheat oven to 425°F. Line 2 baking sheets with foil and lightly oil or spray with olive oil cooking spray. Slice potatoes 1/4-inch thick and discard small, rounded ends. Place in a medium bowl with 2 tablespoons olive oil and toss well to coat. Add cheese, salt and red pepper and toss again to coat as evenly as possible. Place in a single layer on baking sheet and cook for 25 minutes. While potatoes are cooking, stir together remaining oil, tomatoes, mozzarella, balsamic, and garlic in a medium bowl. Top potatoes with equal amounts of tomato mixture and bake for 5 minutes more or until cheese is just starting to melt; sprinkle with basil. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 8 servings.

Red Potatoes & Green Beans:
1 pound red potatoes, quartered
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound green beans, ends trimmed
2 tbsp butter

Place the potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Add 2 teaspoons salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until almost fork-tender, about 15 minutes. When the potatoes are almost done, at about 15 minutes add the green beans and cook 5 minutes more, until beans are just tender. Drain and return to the pot. Add butter to potatoes and melt over low heat. Add salt and pepper to taste, stir gently and serve. Makes 4 servings