Red potatoes provide you with essential vitamins, minerals and energy you need to fuel your busy day. They're a root vegetable that makes a healthy addition to any well-balanced diet. You'll get the most nutritional benefits from red potatoes by eating their thin skin, along with the white flesh. Just be sure to wash the outer skin of the potato well before baking or boiling to remove all dirt.
Calories, Fat and Protein
A medium, red-skinned potato that's baked measures about 2.25 to 3.25 inches in diameter. If you eat the skin and flesh of the potato, you'll get 153 calories, 3 grams of protein and less than 1 gram of fat, according the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This makes potatoes a good fit for low-fat diets. They're also a whole food, and a vegetable source of starch to eat with dinner, rather than eating processed foods. Be aware of your portion size when consuming potatoes to avoid eating more calories than you need.
Carbohydrates in Red Potatoes
A medium, red-skinned potato supplies you with 34 grams of carbohydrate. Dietary fiber accounts for three of these grams of carbohydrate. Fiber helps regulate your digestion, prevents constipation and diarrhea, may lower cholesterol and blood sugar and helps you feel full after eating. The majority of the rest of the carbohydrates in red potatoes come from starches. These are complex carbohydrates found in whole foods. Although potatoes are a vegetable, they are considered a starchy vegetable because of their high carbohydrate content. If you're following a controlled carbohydrate diet plan or have diabetes, be cautious of your portion size to avoid excess carb intake.
Vitamins in Red Potatoes
Red potatoes also provide you with a variety of vitamins to maintain your health. A medium red potato provides 36 percent of the daily value of vitamin C. Your body needs vitamin C to form collagen -- an essential connective-tissue protein -- to fight infections, to help iron and copper absorption and to maintain healthy bones. You'll also get 19 percent of the daily value for vitamin B6, 13 percent for niacin and 12 percent for folate from red potatoes. These B vitamins aid in energy metabolism, cell growth and repair, keeping skin and nerves healthy, and they help prevent certain neural-tube birth defects in babies.
Minerals in Red Potatoes
Red potatoes also contain many essential minerals. A medium potato provides 12 to 15 percent of the daily value for magnesium, copper, phosphorus and manganese, and 27 percent of the daily value for potassium. Your body needs potassium to help regulate blood pressure, fluid balance, nerve impulses and muscle contractions. The other minerals in red potatoes play a part in many bodily functions, including calcium use, bone health, energy metabolism, red-blood cell formation, immune function and acid-base balance.
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Potatoes, Red, Flesh and Skin, Baked
- Colorado State University Extension: Dietary Fiber
- NHS Choices: Starchy Foods (Carbs)
- Australian Government Department of Health: Vitamins and Minerals
- Bowes and Church's Food Values of Portions Commonly Used; Jean A. T. Pennington and Judith Spungen Douglass