5 Types of Potatoes That Are Good for You + Cooking Tips

March 26, 2015

Potatoes have been maligned as the least nutritious vegetable, but they are actually nutrient-dense, and may even help weight loss and management. Potatoes are indigenous to the Andes region in South America. It’s also the world’s fourth largest food crop following wheat, maize and rice. Here are 5 different types of potatoes and their benefits, plus how to cook them!

1. Russet Potato
Russet Potatoes are most commonly used to prepare light fluffy mashed potato. They can also be used for hearty soups and stews, or baked whole or sliced. The delicate flavor and fluffy texture of baked russets go well with toppings, from vegan cream and chives to spicy and bold Mediterranean or Latin flavors. It possesses the same amount of nutrition value as compared to its other variants.

5 Different Types of Potatoes and Their Benefits

2. White Potato
White potatoes are small to medium-sized with white, slightly creamy flesh. They are versatile and can be cooked in a variety of healthy ways. A medium sized white potato has around 130 calories and weighs approximately 5 ounces. It has 2.9 grams of dietary fiber. According to studies, dietary fibre acts as a laxative and lowers the risk of cardiovascular diseases and Type 2 diabetes. It also has Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin B6, potassium, magnesium and iron. It is low on sodium and helps lower blood pressure that is a consequence of a high sodium diet.

5 Different Types of Potatoes and Their Benefits

Like all potatoes, white potatoes are fat-free. The subtly creamy texture of the white potato works well with grilling. Or, try boiling until just done and making a potato salad with a bit of olive oil and Dijon mustard, and fresh dill. White potato also lends itself well to steaming–pair with your favorite healthy sauce.

3. Yellow Potato
The Yukon gold potato is medium-to-large and has creamy yellow flesh. This variety possesses 26 g of carbohydrates. It contains around 3 grams of insoluble fiber and 4 g of proteins. A medium sized potato has 100 g of calories. Golden potatoes contain 45 g of Vitamin C which also acts as an antioxidant.

5 Different Types of Potatoes and Their Benefits

Smashed potatoes

The velvety flesh and crispy skin of Yukon gold shine when you toss it in a bit of high smoking point oil and sea salt, and roast in the oven. It’s also a great “smashed” potato option. Boil the potatoes until fully cooked, then drain and smash the potatoes about half way (not completely mashed) with a wooden spoon. Then, transfer to a thick bottomed skillet and brown in olive oil until crispy in parts.

4. Purple Potato
Purple Potato is a Peruvian variety of potatoes. It has a fleshy and flour-like texture. These potatoes are rich in dietary fibre and antioxidants. Three small potatoes contain 131 calories with no fat or cholesterol. It has 3 grams of protein and 30 grams of carbohydrates. This also contributes to 55 percent of daily recommended value of Vitamin C and 7 percent of daily recommended value of iron for a 2000 calories diet. This variety has medium starch content and is rich in antioxidants like caretonoids and anthycynanins.
According to an article published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, the high antioxidants content in purple potatoes may help lower blood pressure. It has 4 grams of dietary fiber which contributes to almost of 17 percent of your daily fiber needs.

5 Different Types of Potatoes and Their Benefits

Purple potato chips

Purple potatoes are excellent for baking or in salads. Its beautiful color also makes it a great oven-baked potato chip option. Just slice thinly into round discs, and lay flat on a lightly oiled baking sheet, and bake at 400 degrees F for about 20 minutes or until slightly browned and crispy.

5. Red Potato
On a weight loss journey? Red potato is the one for you! One medium baked red potato contains 3 grams of fiber. According to a study published in Nutrition Review, eating more than 14 grams of fiber for more than two days is associated with a 10 percent decrease in total calorie intake and a four pound weight loss over a four month period. So potatoes can help in weight loss as they are high on fibre. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, consuming more potassium helps lower sodium, which in turn can lower blood pressure. A medium-sized red baked potato contains 943 milligrams of potassium, plus iron and vitamin C. According to a research, vitamin C helps absorb more iron in the body. Iron helps in building haemoglobin which is found in the red blood cells, while vitamin C helps fight free radicals by protecting your healthy cells.

Red potatoes are great mix-ins for mashed potatoes, adding its own flavor and medium-starchy texture. Quarter it and toss it in oil and bake in the oven, or make a potato salad.

Contrary to the popular belief, potato is not fattening but has many benefits important to achieve weight loss. If cooked the healthy way, potato is a delicious part of a healthy diet!

What’s your favorite potato variety, and how do you like to cook it? Please share!

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Photo: Slice of Chic via Flickr; George Wesley & Bonita via Flickr; Amelia Crook via Flickr; Lisa Risager via Flickr

Vineetha is very passionate about nutrition, fitness, health & wellness. She believes that the ingredients you find in your pantry are the best medicines that you can get. Follow Vineetha on Twitter.


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