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What Is the Nutritional Value of Potato Skins?

Roasted potatoes with skins.
Stuffed potato skins with cheese, bacon, green onions and sour cream.
French fries with potato skins.
Potato skins are sometimes served with bacon bits.
Potato skins are the most nutritious part of the potato.
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  • Last Modified Date: 03 October 2014
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In the past, potato skins were peeled prior to cooking with the idea that the potato would be cleaner, and therefore healthier; however, it has been discovered that leaving the potato skins intact can add nutrients to a meal. The potato, as well as the skin, are great sources of vitamin C, vitamin B6, copper, potassium, zinc, and protein, but neither naturally contain any fat, cholesterol, or sodium. Leaving the skin intact can also help preserve the nutrients in the flesh of the potato, which have a tendency to escape during cooking. Below are some of the daily value (DV) percentages that a medium-sized potato may contain, based on a daily caloric intake of 2,000 calories; the nutritional information for total fat, cholesterol, and sodium are not included as their values are all zero:

Other Nutrients

Again based on a 2,000 calorie diet, a medium-sized potato, including the skin, has approximately 110 calories. Potatoes are classified as a tuber, meaning bulb or root, and contain a protein called patatin that is specific to these types of vegetables. Patatin works as an effective antioxidant and helps to lower blood pressure, and potato skins may even help to provide protection against heart disease and cancer. Potato skins also provide a variety of phytonutrients, which are a natural source of antioxidants that help to prevent cellular deterioration of the body; the phytonutrients found in potatoes include carotenoids, flavonoids, and caffeic acid.

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Healthier Options

While potatoes do not naturally include sodium, cholesterol, or fat, these things can be added to a potato depending on the way it's cooked and the ingredients that are added. French fries, baked potatoes topped with butter and sour cream, and potato skins piled high with cheese and bacon are some common examples of a healthy potato turned unhealthy. The condiments often added to potatoes are usually high in saturated fats, which are known to contribute to heart disease. Healthier alternatives to the fatty additions include hummus, onions, and butter alternatives, among others; healthier cooking methods include baking or boiling the potato, as opposed to frying the vegetable. Many people suggest consuming a variety of squash, and preparing them similarly to potatoes, for a healthier alternative.

It should be noted that in many areas, potato crops are sprayed with chemicals to protect them from pests and disease — these pesticides can become concentrated in the potato skins. Any consumers who are concerned about the possibility of ingesting pesticides may want to purchase organically grown potatoes.

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Discuss this Article

lighth0se33
Post 17

@feasting – It is surprising. I eat potato skins for their fiber, because I've always heard that fruit and vegetable peelings are full of it. I hope I'm right about this with potato skins.

I cut a big baking potato into cubes and toss them with olive oil. I sprinkle them with seasoning salt and bake them for 25 minutes at 400 degrees.

Olive oil is better for you than butter, so I don't feel bad about using it. It helps the potatoes brown up and keeps them from sticking to the pan.

cloudel
Post 16

My mother was always afraid of cooking potato skins. She would wash the potatoes and scrub them before peeling them because of what they had been buried in.

There is definitely dirt on the skins, but farmers often use manure as fertilizer, so that may not be all you are seeing. So, if you are going to cook potatoes with the skins on, be sure to scrub them down and rinse them off first.

giddion
Post 15

I always leave the red potato skins on when I boil them. I like making new potatoes, and the skins are so tender that eating them doesn't seem strange at all.

I boil these little red potatoes in water with salt, peppercorns, garlic, and a bay leaf. Usually, twenty minutes is enough, but I always check to see if I can slice them in half with a fork before I stop boiling them.

I then mash them up with a fork in a bowl of salted butter. I know that butter isn't good for me, but it's hard to eat a potato without it. It just adds some much needed flavor, and I figure that eating a potato with butter is better than not eating one at all.

feasting
Post 14

I'm surprised to learn that potatoes with skins contain less vitamin B6 than vitamin C. I always thought that potatoes were supposed to give you plenty of energy, so I expected their B6 content to be high.

Also, they contain less potassium than I thought. They still make the list of things to eat when you need potassium, but it seems that they aren't at the top of it.

anon268037
Post 12

@Anon17184: Regarding your comment, this article states in the first paragraph, "The potato, as well as the skin, are great sources of vitamin C, vitamin B6, copper, potassium, zinc, and protein, but neither naturally contain any fat, cholesterol, or sodium."

There is no fat in a potato anywhere! However people can add fat with butter, cheese, bacon bits etc.

anon96147
Post 9

I find this article pointless:

that point of the article is this: Leaving the potato skins intact can make meals made with potatoes more nutritious. These two statements are the only things that have anything to do with the skin.

Potato skins store many nutrients and also contain a lot of fiber, which is essential for a healthy diet. Leaving the potato skins on also helps preserve the nutrients in the flesh of the potato, which have a tendency to escape during cooking.

Patatin is a protein that is found in all parts of the potato even the leaves and it is still unknown what it true benefits are. I would like to see comparisons on what the nutritional values of a potato with cooked with skin and without.

anon84421
Post 8

Potatoes (and their lovely skins) with salsa!! No butter needed. Yum.

anon65357
Post 6

I have very low potassium and extremely high B-12 - hence potatoes with skin and lima beans are a staple and a favorite in my daily food intake, along with fruits and V8Fusion which is low in sodium and has good potassium. Try baked potatoes with horseradish instead of dairy products -- wondrous.

anon62297
Post 5

Looking for more potassium, other than in bananas? I discovered that the V8 low sodium juice on the market has 850 mgs per cup in it. Great source if you're low in potassium. I've been using it for several years.

anon38456
Post 3

My doctor said my potassium level was far too low. Is it true the skins have tons of it? Doing everything in power to get my levels back to norm. Of course I got meds. Not much of an eater, so that is why I am here!

anon33089
Post 2

I am so over the moon to know that my favorite afternoon starch snack is so healthy! I don't know about you, but I *only* eat the skin. I always guessed that it was far better for my complexion. Did you know, potato skins can clear up acne? It always tasted slightly like soil and gravely pieces, but I powered through it and ate them *all up.* So thank you, for finally clearing up what I have believed to be true for 98 years now.

anon17184
Post 1

i am doing a nutritional project and it is telling us to find what ingredient in a potato makes it have carbs, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals, and water. i have done all of them except fat and water and the project is due in 2 days. (also i can't find the answer anywhere on google.!!!

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