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Colorful Potatoes add Health Benefits to the Home Garden

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The Holidays are rolling to a halt with New Year’s Eve and Day on the near horizon and many gardeners are beginning to plan the 2014 garden.

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Are potatoes on your list this year? Few things are as tasty as potato salad made from potatoes fresh from the ground, or fresh mashed potatoes, perhaps from Yukon Gold tubers. But how are these veggies from a health and nutrition standpoint? Most traditional white fleshed potatoes are created equal in a general sense as far as health benefits are concerned.

You will receive, per serving, a respectable amount of vitamins A, C, K, niacin, B-6 as well as folate, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus. You will get a good portion of fiber as well if you eat the skins.

But! You will also get some sugar, a lot of starch which your body will convert to sugar, and a whacking great dose of carbohydrates in the bargain.

What to do? Giving up potatoes for most folks is not an option to be employed lightly; perhaps the alternative is to get more health benefits per spud. And this can be done rather easily.

Color is the key to healthy compounds as any article on the benefits of blueberries will be quick to point out. Thus it is that Yukon Gold potatoes with their mild flavored yellow flesh have three times the beta carotene of white fleshed potatoes.

Sounds like a good deal? Well, it is. But scientists with the USDA’s Agricultural Research center have developed a yellow fleshed, purple skinned variety called “Peter Wilcox” with 15 times the carotenoid value of Yukon Gold.

Is it flavonoids which you seek? The deeply blue skinned and fleshed “All Blue” cultivar is rich in these wonderful compounds. How about anthocyanins? "Adirondack Red" potatoes abound with these powerful antioxidants.

And the novelty and good flavor of these varieties will add color and conversational fodder to you dinner table. Why not plan a healthier potato patch for the 2014 garden?

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