Do you pitch the peels of potatoes into the garbage disposal? You could be discarding a wealth of good-for-you ingredients. The skins are loaded with disease-fighting nutrients and weight-friendly fiber. By incorporating potato skins into your diet, you’ll get more healthy meals from each potato.
Half the spud’s fiber is in the skin. Fiber helps prevent constipation and may reduce the risk of colon cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Fiber also helps you maintain a healthy weight, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. One reason: Eating foods with fiber helps prevent blood sugar slumps that can cause hunger and lead to mindless snacking, explains Connie Diekman, director of university nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis. The nutrition academy notes that most people don’t get enough fiber. Up to age 50, women need 25 grams daily, while men should get 38 grams. After age 50, both genders need slightly less fiber. Potato skins are rich in fiber with 2 grams per ounce.
Potatoes are brimming with potassium, an essential mineral. Studies have linked potassium with a lower risk of dying from a heart attack, possibly because it lowers blood pressure. Getting enough potassium also reduces your risk of having a stroke, but only if your potassium comes from food, not supplements, reports the University of Maryland Medical Center. Potassium may also play a role in preventing osteoporosis, but as of 2012 more research was needed to confirm this connection. Another potassium plus: Eating healthy foods high in potassium may help prevent water retention that can make you weigh more, Diekman notes.