We eye this veggie with both longing and suspicion. Potatoes are carb-heavy, it's true, but they're also full of good-for-you fiber. A humble baked spud contains only about 160 calories, supplies a hit of vitamin C, and has more than twice a banana's potassium (a nutrient that may help control blood pressure). If there's a potato problem, it's this: The kinds we crave are fried, salty, and heavily processed, and we eat them in oversize portions. Click through this slideshow to find out which tater spin-offs are less than wholesome.
Sources: Alissa Rumsey, R.D. Deeptha Sukumar, Ph.D., assistant professor, nutrition sciences department of the College of Nursing and Health Professions at Drexel University. Lauri Wright, Ph.D., R.D., assistant professor of nutrition at the College of Public Health at University of South Florida.
What gives these an edge is the disease-fighting antioxidant content: Purple potatoes (also called blue or Peruvian) can contain almost twice as much as the standard white kind. Orange sweet potatoes and yellow-fleshed ones, like Yukon Golds, are runners-up for healthiest spud.
Russet and red potatoes land in this category. To retain the most nutrients, bake or microwave them, and always leave the skin on. Boil a potato without its peel, and vitamin C drops by two-thirds—plus, you lose all of the skin's fiber. When it comes to toppings, go easy on the butter and sour cream, or try a tablespoon or two of 2% Greek yogurt mixed with herbs (dill is delicious).