12 Reasons to Eat Potatoes | 12 Potato Recipes

I love receiving questions from Vegalicious readers and, even moreso, I love answering them. Each week I receive tens of emails with questions on various topics; one from this week stood out to me, since the topic of the question is often vilified without a good reason.

Elena, how often do you eat potatoes? It seems like a lot of soups on this site list potatoes as an ingredient. I could personally eat soups and stews everyday, especially in the winter, but don’t want to overdo it with the potatoes. Thanks! ~Christina

Guilty as charged! I love my potatoes. They are a perfect comfort food. They can be made soft or crunchy. You can peel them or leave the skins on. They make soups creamy and more enjoyable. In my Mom’s world a soup is not a soup unless it has potatoes in it.

I grew up eating potatoes regularly–soups, mashed potatoes, boiled potatoes, potato ravioli, potato salads, baked potatoes, fried potatoes, potato pirozhki, and other innumerable ways we could consume potatoes.   Now, not all of the ways we consumed potatoes were always healthy (i.e. using oil), but mostly potatoes carried us from one day to the next, especially during winters, since we did not have same fabulous supermarkets we do in the US, abundant in produce imported from all over the world. 

12 Reasons to Eat Potatoes

History Lesson

Humanity has long survived due to the availability of potatoes even in the harshest of climates. Look at the grand ol’ Russia–the winter wonder land, where potatoes are a staple, often served with delicious mushrooms.  Yet, Russians are generally thinner and healthier than Americans.

Native Peruvians have been highly dependent on the potato for thousands of years. A 1964 study of the Quechua inhabitants of Nuñoa showed that they obtained 74% of their calories from potatoes. (source) Yet, in 2001, a medical study of rural Quechua men reported an average body fat percentage of only 16.4%! (source)

The Aymara are another potato-dependent people who span Peru, Bolivia and Chile. Prevalence of diabetes in this population was 1.5% (source) compared to America’s 8.3% (source).

In 1839, the average Irish laborer obtained 87% of his calories from potatoes. (source) When the potato blight struck Ireland in 1845, decimating potato plantations nationwide, the Great Famine wiped out 1 million lives and forced another 1 million to seek refuge in other countries. 

Incas in South America are also knowing for their potato eating ways.  Japanese, Chinese, and other Asian cultures consume a lot of sweet potatoes. In Okinawa, where sweet potato is a staple food, elderly have among the lowest mortality rates in the world and enjoy not only what may be the world’s longest life expectancy but the world’s longest health expectancy.


In a sentence, our bodies are made to function on carbohydrates. Up to 80% of our dietary sources should be carbohydrate sources, including potatoes. Eat a “carb free” or a “low carb” diet* long enough and you will risk losing your health. Without carbs we die!

*carbs, aka starches, is a conversation for another day

Potato has undeservedly been vilified in the USA, and for all the wrong reasons. As carbophobia has been preached by fad diets (i.e. Atkins and Paleo), potato has been pushed aside as a fearsome carb we should stay away from. But is potato truly evil or is it good for us? I am about to give you 12 reasons to eat your potatoes and to do it frequently.

Eat Your Potato

Let’s examine what one medium size potato (about 173 grams and only 160 calories!) can do for you.

potato recipes 2


(image source)

Reason % DV
1. Great source of healthy carbohydrates 12
2. Complete source of protein—has all 9 essential amino acids, as well as nonessential amino acids 8.6
3. Rich source of dietary fiber. Potato has slightly more fiber than the same amount of brown rice! 15
4. Vitamin C 28
5. Vitamin B6 27
6. Potassium 26.4
7. Manganese 19
8. Folate 12
9. Copper 10
10. Iron 10.4
11. Magnesium 12
12. Phosphorus 12 

The list by no means stops here. I could easily give you another 30 reasons you should enjoy potatoes, but you can see them at a glance here.

What would make a potato evil?

I can tell you it is not the skin it’s wearing, but rather the company it keeps on the American plates.  If you take an amazingly nutritious potato, dunk it oil, fry it butter, slather with sour cream or mayonnaise, you will see the outcome not only on your hips and waistline–you will see your cholesterol levels rise and your heart squirm in terror, and rightfully so. Separate potato from its worthless companions, and you have a super hero crop!

A study recently published in the American Journal of Epidemiology concluded that consuming a variety of cooked vegetables, including potatoes, cooked in ways other than frying, was associated with a reduced risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Researchers at the University of Melbourne and theCancer Council Victoria who worked independently from any food industry sponsors, investigated the association between a variety of dietary patterns and type 2 diabetes in a 4-year prospective study of 36,787 adults.

The results indicated that a dietary pattern characterized by meats and fatty foods was associated with increased diabetes risk while a dietary pattern characterized by a variety of salad and cooked vegetables, including potatoes cooked in ways other than frying, was associated with a decreased risk. (source)

Believe it or not, I was enjoying my potatoes regularly when I went through my transformation!


12 Potato Recipes

Now that you know you should eat your potatoes, I will give you 12 recipes to enjoy them.


  1. Fat Free Vegan Veggie Soup
  2. Ironlicious Lentil Soup
  3. Chickpea Curry
  4. Okroshka
  5. Vegan and Fat Free Split Pea Soup
  6. Veggie Stew
  7. Fat Free Roasted Potatoes
  8. Mashed Potatoes
  9. Potato Ravioli
  10. Vegan Potato Salad
  11. Potato Strudels
  12. Potato Curry

Share Your Potato Love

Now I want to hear your favorite, healthy ways you enjoy potatoes.  Also ,make sure to spread health love and share this post on the web and through email with your friends, family and the world.  Let’s make this planet a healthier place one meal at a time!

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