Not all potatoes are created equal. Some potatoes have slightly different health benefits and are better suited for particular types of preparation. There are more than 10,000 varieties of potatoes, including white, yellow, purple, red and sweet. But to many cooks, the flavors and benefits of the Yukon Gold cannot be beat.
Yukon Gold Basics
Yukon Golds are a mixture of a white and yellow potato. White potatoes are a medium-starch potato and are adaptable because they can hold their shape after cooking. Yellow-skinned potatoes are golden in color and also have a velvety texture. Yukon Golds are the preferred potato for roasting and mashing for many cooks.
A Healthy Side Dish Option
Potatoes are low in calories and have no fat. Eating a potato with the skin will make you feel fuller, longer than carbohydrates made with refined flour -- like white rice and pasta -- because the starch in a potato digests more slowly than refined carbohydrates. Yukon Gold potatoes are smooth in texture, firm and moist and have richly flavored skins, reducing the need for butter or other add-ins to make them yummy. Just chop and spray with olive oil-based nonstick spray, sprinkle with seasonings and bake for a simple, low-fat side dish.
The yellow pigment of a Yukon Gold potato is caused by carotenoids, a type of antioxidant. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals and may strengthen the immune system and protect against some forms of cancer. A team of researchers from the USDA Agricultural Research Center found that yellow and dark-skinned potatoes contain large amounts of carotenoids – 400 micrograms per 100 grams. While not as much as the same amount of carrots at 11,700 micrograms, yellow-skinned potatoes can significantly contribute to your daily intake.
Valuable Vitamins and Minerals
Potatoes have almost half of your daily recommended value of vitamin C, half of your potassium and 10 percent of the RDA of vitamin B6. Potato skins contain at least 60 different phytochemicals and vitamins, most being flavonoids that play a role in lowering bad cholesterol. Potatoes are all fairly low in sodium; Yukon Gold potatoes have only 10 milligrams of sodium per medium potato, compared to 24 milligrams in a white potato and 27 milligrams in a red potato. Yukon Gold potatoes also have more protein than white potatoes.
- Eat Right: Potatoes – A Natural Health Food
- Fruits and Veggies More Matters: Yukon Gold Potatoes
- Harvest of the Month: Exploring California Potatoes
- MayoClinic.com: Food Sources the Best Choice for Antioxidants
- Runners World: The Spud Report
- Daily Mail: Devil’s Food? The Surprising Health Benefits of the Humble Spud
- Empire Potato Growers: Potato Goodness Unearthed
- USDA National Nutrient Database: White Potatoes
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Red Potatoes
Poppy Carpenter graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. In addition to teaching journalism to junior high students, she also covers health and fitness for "PUSH Monthly" and Angie's List.