The Nutritional Value of Potatoes

Potatoes are Tuber plants which are eaten as a staple food around the world, throughout the year. Potatoes are quite nutritious and healthy. Even though they are packed with more potassium than bananas, they are considered as a fattening food by most of the people. There is no need to eliminate them from your diet because of this fear as the nutritional value of Potatoes is much more than you thought. Potatoes are not only filled with nutrients but they also have amazing health benefits.

What makes potatoes special is that they can combine with any vegetable and still shows its presence. 

So let’s have a look at the nutritional value of potatoes and it’s health benefits.

The nutritional value of potatoes

Potatoes are an excellent source of many vitamins and minerals. They are relatively cheap, thus eaten as a staple food. Potatoes are easy to grow. 

Potatoes are more energy packed food than any other vegetables. The best part of the potatoes is that they can go with any vegetables. The nutritional difference of potatoes depends on how you eat them. 

Here are the detailed information on the nutritional value of potatoes:

  1.  Carbohydrate

The main energy nutrient in potatoes is carbohydrate, found in the form of starch. Carbohydrate is the main source of energy in the body. It uses glucose for energy. Carbohydrate provides 60% energy to the body. 

Potato being a starchy carbohydrate is good for your health. Simple sugar like sucrose and fructose is also present in it in small amounts.

Potatoes are considered to be high in glycemic index, which may not be good for the diabetic person. Although some potatoes have a medium range of glycemic index (GI), depending upon their variety and cooking methods used.

Glycemic index ratings are based on how the particular food affects the blood sugar level in the body. 

Here is the list of different types of potatoes with different GI:

Types of PotatoesGlycemic index
Sweet potato70
Boiled white potato82
Instantly mashed potato87
Baked russet potato111

It’s important to know your portion size instead of completely eliminating the food.

Though cooling the potatoes after cooking is said to be lowering the GI by 25-26 %, which ultimately lessens the effect on blood sugar.

  1. Protein

However potatoes are low in protein, but their protein quality is much higher than any other plant based protein food. Potatoes protein quality is even higher than soybean or any other legumes.

Potatoes contain 3g protein in a boiled medium portion. Although it’s not even 10% of the daily value, potatoes are a good source of lysine and tryptophan and if combined with milk or eggs it can make a high quality protein food.

The main protein found in the potatoes is patatin which may cause allergic reaction in some individuals.

  1. Fats

You might not believe this but a 100g of potatoes has 0.1 g fat. 

Potatoes are the best way to satisfy your hunger as they are both fat-free and Cholesterol- free. 

Though potatoes are fat-free, eating them in the form of chips or fries will surely not be good for your weight.

It depends on the cooking of potatoes, how you are eating them. Until you are eating the boiled or baked potato you don’t need to worry about it. But having it in fried form or having potato chips will definitely make you gain extra pounds.

  1. Fiber

Potatoes also contain fiber, which is good for your gut and also promotes a feeling of fullness.

About 180 grams of potatoes contain 3 grams of fiber which is more than 10% of the daily recommended value of fiber.

The fiber present in potatoes such as pectin, cellulose and hemicellulose are mainly insoluble. 

People who eat cooked potatoes with their skin on, take up more fiber. But you need to be careful to avoid the discolored or marked skin. 

Also the green patches present in the potatoes indicate the presence of solanine, which can be harmful for the body if taken in large amounts.

Potatoes also contain varying amounts of resistant starch, which acts similarly like fiber and may aid in controlling the blood sugar level and blood lipid level.

Cooled potatoes after cooking are a good source of resistant starch.

  1. Vitamins and Minerals

Potatoes are packed in many vitamins and minerals, mainly vitamin C and potassium.

Due to the diversity of ways of cooking potatoes, the nutritional value of potatoes is very variable. Nutritional loss during cooking depends on the temperature and the length of cooking time. But this reduction of nutrients can be minimised by baking and boiling the potatoes with the skin.

Some vitamins and minerals found in potatoes are:

  • Vitamin C – 

Potatoes are the most reliable source of vitamin C. A 180g mashed boiled potato can contain about 10 mg of vitamin C which is about 1/8th of the daily adult requirement. The new potatoes contain double the amount of vitamin C. Although vitamin C is sensitive to heat and reduces significantly while cooking, leaving the skin can reduce its loss. Vitamin C is required for healthy skin, teeth , muscles and bones. It is also required for the absorption of iron in the body. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant in the body, and some potatoes specially the sweet potatoes are a significant source of other antioxidants such as carotenoid and flavonoids.

  • Potassium –

Potatoes are a significant source for potassium. It is generally concentrated in skin. Potassium is required for many functions in the body, including the transmission of nerve impulse,muscle function and contraction and also helps in regulating blood pressure. As potatoes are typically consumed in larger amounts than any other fruits and vegetables, they became the most important and reliable source for these minerals.

  • B- vitamins –

Potatoes are also rich in several different B- vitamins. These vitamins have many important functions in the body, from metabolism to carbohydrates to providing energy, B- vitamins are essential. They also maintain the health of the skin and nervous system. A 180g of boiled potato contains more than the 1/6th of the daily requirement of vitamin B1, B6 and folate. Folate is essential for the production of red blood cells, cell growth and development.

  • Iron and magnesium –

Potatoes also contain iron and magnesium in small amounts. A 180g medium portion boiled potatoes provides 1/10th of the daily requirement of iron and magnesium. Iron is important for the formation of hemoglobin in the body which carries oxygen throughout the body.

Also potatoes naturally don’t contain sodium. And the combination of high potassium and low sodium content makes the potatoes a healthy food for people who are trying to lose weight.

Table for the Nutritional value of Potatoes

The following table contains the information about the nutritional value of potatoes, and the calories in potatoes.The information is according to the U.S Food and Drugs Administration. 

Nutritional value of potatoes per 100g:

Serving size – 1 medium portion (148g)

NutrientAmount per serving% Daily Value( DV)*
Total carbohydrate26g9%
Total Fat0g0%
Dietary Fiber2g8%
Sodium 8mg0%
Vitamin A+0%
Vitamin C45%

*Percentage daily value on the above table for the nutritional value of potatoes are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Table for the nutritional value of sweet potatoes

The nutritional value of sweet potatoes is also immense like potatoes. Following table show the nutritional value of sweet potatoes in 100g:

NutrientAmount per serving% Daily Value (DV)*
Total Carbohydrate21g7%
Total Fat0.1g0%
Vitamin A384%
Vitamin C33%

*Percentage daily value on the above table for the nutritional value of sweet potatoes are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

After knowing about the nutritional value of potatoes and the nutritional value of sweet potatoes, let’s understand about the health benefits of potatoes.

Health Benefits of Potatoes

Potatoes are a popular food source throughout the globe. Unfortunately, people consider it as a source of high amounts of fats, which is not true. Basically the boiled and the baked potato are exceptionally healthy as they are low in calories and high in fiber content. 

It all depends on the cooking methods used. If potatoes are eaten in the form of greasy french fries or potato chips, or even baked potato loaded with butter, melted cheese etc. then they will definitely become unhealthy.

Potatoes are a good source of vitamin,dietary fiber and pantothenic acid. It also contains phytonutrients which have antioxidant properties. Continue reading to know about the 10 health benefits of potatoes:

  1. Blood pressure

Potatoes are a rich source of potassium, even though they contain more potassium than bananas. It encourages the widening of blood vessels.

Also potatoes do not contain sodium. This combination of high potassium and low sodium, makes potatoes a beneficial food for lowering the blood pressure. 

Also the outer skin of potato is rich in fiber which helps in lowering the cholesterol by binding the cholesterol in the blood. 

 The presence of potassium, calcium, magnesium and fiber makes potatoes a good source for lowering the blood pressure.

  1. Bone health

Potatoes contain calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron and zinc which help the body to build and maintain the bone structure and strength.

Iron and zinc present in the potatoes plays an important role in the production and maturation of collagen, while potassium and calcium are helpful in maintaining the bone structure. But it is essential to maintain the balance between these two minerals for proper bone mineralization. If any of these two nutrients present in too much amount it can contribute to osteoporosis and result in bone loss.

  1. Heart health 

Potatoes is a rich source of dietary fibre which helps in lowering the total blood cholesterol level thereby decreasing the risk of heart disease.

According to the research based on NHANES, high potassium and low sodium intake can reduce the risk of all types of mortality and heart disease.

Also, potassium, vitamin C and vitamin B6 contribute to good heart health.

  1. Cancer

Potatoes contain folate and vitamin C. Folate plays an important role in DNA synthesizing and its repairment, which prevents many types of cancer  cell formation due to the mutation in DNA.

Also, vitamin C and quercetin act as antioxidants, which help the cells against the damage caused by free radicals.

Fiber intake from these fruits and vegetables like potatoes, are associated with lowering the risk of colorectal cancer.

  1. May improves digestion

One of the best health benefits of potatoes is that they improve digestion. The resistant starch present in potatoes helps in improving digestive health.

The high level of carbohydrates present in potatoes makes them easy to digest, while the fiber- filled skin improves the bowel movement.

Also the fiber helps in Keeping full, which further helps in weight loss.

  1. Immunity

Potatoes are filled with vitamin C,which is known for boosting immunity. It even helps in preventing scurvy. It also reduces the severity and duration of the common cold.

According to the Washington State Potato Commission, a baked medium sized potato contains about 45 % of the recommended daily intake.

  1. Inflammation

Potatoes also contain choline, which is an important nutrient for reducing inflammation, present in potatoes. It helps with muscle movements, memory and learning. 

Also according to the study by Arthritis Foundation, the members of nightshade family like potatoes help in reducing arthritis symptoms and inflammation.

  1. Metabolism

Potatoes are rich in vitamin B6 and vitamin B6 are known to play an important role in metabolising energy, by breaking down carbohydrate and protein into glucose and amino acids. 

These smaller compounds are easy to utilise for energy production within the body.

  1. Skin

This is also one of the best health benefits of potatoes. The vitamin C present in potatoes helps in the collagen synthesis. Collagen is the support system for skin and helps in smoothing wrinkles and improves overall texture.

While vitamin C acts as an antioxidant to help to prevent the damage caused by an external environment like sun, pollution and smoke.

  1. Weight management and satiety

Dietary fiber is found in the outer skin of potatoes. They work as a “bulking agent” in the digestive system by increasing the satiety and reducing the appetite, due to which a person feels fuller for a long time and less likely to consume more calories.

And because of this important factor dietary fibers are recognised as an important factor for weight loss and weight management. 

Side Effects of Potatoes

Eating potatoes is generally safe but in some cases it can cause some allergies. In these cases people need to limit their consumption or avoid them.

Here are some of the side effects of Potatoes:

  1. Potato allergy

Food allergies are common, aa they are characterized by the harmful immune reaction which is caused by a certain type of protein.

People who are allergic to latex may get sensitive to patatin, one of the main proteins found in Potatoes.

The person suffering from patatin or latex allergy should avoid eating potatoes.

  1. Solanine

Potatoes that have green discoloration or the sprouted potatoes contain solanine, which is a harmful toxic compound that can cause respiratory and circulatory problems. It can also cause headache, muscle cramps and diarrhea. 

Potatoes can be eaten after removing the sprouts, but if the potato has shrunk or has a green hue, it should not be eaten.

  1. Acrylamide

Acrylamide is a compound found in plastics, glues, dyes and cigarette smoke. 

Studies have shown that if potatoes are cooked above 248° F or 120°C, they produce acrylamide.

Acrylamide has neurotoxic properties, which may have a negative impact on genes and reproductive health. It also has been linked to the development of several certain types of cancer.

  1. Beta blocker

Beta blocker is a type of medication that is prescribed commonly for heart diseases. It also increases the potassium level in the blood.

 And as potatoes are high in potassium content they should be consumed in moderation while taking beta-blockers.

  1. Diabetes and obesity

Potatoes contain high levels of simple carbohydrates. This may be not beneficial for people suffering from diabetes or obesity, if eaten in large amounts.

They need to be eaten in moderation and as a source of carbohydrates, rather than vegetables. Also potatoes should be eaten alongside the starch vegetables for a balanced intake.


Potatoes are a rich source of vitamins and minerals. They also have a good amount of antioxidants and dietary fiber, which makes them beneficial for health.

The health benefits of potatoes are impressive. They not only help in controlling blood sugar, but also help in improving digestive health, reduce heart diseases and help in combating signs of ageing.

Potatoes are also quite filling, because of the presence of dietary fiber and resistant starch which may help you in losing weight.

These all make potatoes a great addition to diet in moderation. Always check the way of cooking potatoes. Boiling and baking is the best cooking method, fried potatoes in the form of French fries and potato chips will only make you fat.

Side effects of potatoes can be seen in people having latex allergy. Also potatoes produce a toxic compound acrylamide if cooked at high temperature, which can be harmful for the body.

Potatoes need to be eaten in moderation by the diabetic and obese people to avoid the side effects of Potatoes.

This article contains information about the nutritional value of potatoes, calories in potatoes, nutritional value of potatoes in 100g, nutritional value of sweet potatoes, the health benefits of potatoes and the side effects of potatoes.

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