Potatoes are pretty high in iron. A serving of baked potatoes, potato chips, or French fries provides about 10% of the daily required dose!
Health benefits of iron
Iron is vital for good health. It’s a key component of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a protein of red blood cells that transfers oxygen from the lungs to the tissues.
Additionally, iron supports muscle metabolism and healthy connective tissue. Also, it’s crucial for energy metabolism, cellular functioning, physical growth, neurological development, and synthesis of some hormones, amino acids, and collagen.[1,2]
Although iron is vital for our health, iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency worldwide! It may lead to serious side effects, such as gastrointestinal disturbances, impaired cognition, weakened immune function, fatigue, and low body temperature. Moreover, iron deficiency during pregnancy increases the risk of premature delivery, and miscarriage.
How much iron do we need a day?
The recommended daily intake of iron is 18 mg for women and 8 mg for men. Women require much higher doses due to menstruation period.
Women older than 51 years require 8 mg of iron, while pregnant women require 27 mg of iron a day.
It may be challenging for women of reproductive age to get the recommended dose of iron. Hence, many women may benefit from taking iron supplements. You can find a wide variety of iron supplements on Amazon. Click here.
You shouldn’t get more iron than the maximum safe dose, though.
Always consult your healthcare provider before taking any dietary supplement.
What’s the iron content of a potato?
Potatoes are an excellent dietary source of iron. They contain 1.08 mg of iron per 100g. Practically, a baked medium potato contains about 1.9 mg of iron, or 10% DV (Daily Value).
Moreover, a serving provides about 1.6 mg of iron, or 9% DV!
The potato skin has the highest iron content
You’ll get about 37% more potassium and 200% more iron when consuming potatoes with the skin! A serving of baked potato flesh contains only 0.55 mg of iron.
But, you should buy only organic potatoes if you don’t peel them. Potatoes are among the most contaminated crops with chemicals. They have pretty high pesticide residues in their skin.
Does cooking method affect iron content of a potato?
Furthermore, the iron content of potatoes depends on cooking method.
Above all, boiling potato pieces significantly decreases iron content. Most iron, as well as other minerals, leaches into the water. Boiled potatoes may lose up to 75% of certain nutrients!
You better steam whole potatoes in order to preserve most iron! Baking, roasting, or microwaving potatoes preserves most iron as well.
Are potato chips & French fries high in iron?
Potato chips and French fries are also an excellent source of iron! Potato chips contain about 1.2 mg and homemade French fries contain about 0.64 mg of iron per 100g, respectively!
Keep in mind that you should eat them in moderation, though. They’re pretty high in calories! For instance, French fries have twice as many calories as baked potatoes. Potatoes chips have 5 times more calories than baked potatoes!
These extra calories come from vegetable oils. In fact, vegetable oils are the most calorie-dense food! Just a tbsp contains almost 120 calories. So, if you love crispy potatoes and potato chips, you better use an air fryer. It cooks potatoes and other foods with the minimum amount of oil (about 95% less oil and calories!). You’ll find a wide variety on Amazon.
Other common foods high in iron
For instance, white beans with 44% DV (Daily Value) per serving, lentils (17% DV), spinach (17%), tofu (17% DV), kidney beans (11%), and chickpeas (11% DV) are among the richest foods in iron!
Moreover, the easiest way to boost your daily iron intake is by drinking certain fruit juices!