Q: Are potatoes bad for you? I read that eating too many is unhealthy.
A: It can be confusing to make sense of how potatoes fit in healthy eating habits. Some sources talk about potatoes as loaded with nutrients, yet others say potatoes don’t even count toward goals of eating more vegetables. Here’s the scoop….
Nutrients, Calories and Phytochemicals – A medium potato is rich in vitamin C and offers even more blood-pressure-friendly potassium than two medium bananas. Potatoes provide other protective nutrients, including the phytochemical quercetin and dietary fiber (particularly with the skin on).
Along with corn, peas and lima beans, potatoes are categorized as a starchy vegetable. Each serving has more carbohydrate and calories than non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, lettuce or tomatoes, making some people think potatoes are high-calorie.
The classic 1947 French tale “Stone Soup” by Marcia Brown, tells the story of three hungry soldiers visiting a village in search of food. When the soldiers were denied food by the villagers, they set about making a large pot of soup with three stones and water. The soldiers wondered if the soup might not be better with a few carrots. Hence, the villagers returned with an apron full of carrots. And what about, say, some cabbage… potatoes… barley?
The villagers contributed step by step, eventually turning that pot of stones into a wonderful meal, along with bread and cider, for the whole village.
I love that story, as it highlights how a few rustic ingredients from the garden can nourish the mind, body and soul. After all, is there anything quite as good as a hearty, vegetable-based soup? The story also shares the message of how you can make magic with ingredients that you have on hand.
A new study out this week suggests that men who take high amounts of vitamin B6 or B12 supplements for a long period of time may increase their lung cancer risk about two-fold compared to men who don’t take these supplements. Risk increases even more among men who smoke.