Health Benefits: Thyroid and Digestion

Simple, Easy Ways To Enjoy Potatoes

 Potatoes are one vegetable that most people can enjoy. We hardly think of them as vegetables. They don't have a strong taste like some "greens".  The aren't usually juiced like many other vegetables used in health tonics. But they do have many health benefits, are easy to prepare, and should be part of our regular diet.

Potatoes are consumed worldwide. They grow easily and abundantly. For storage they need to be kept in a cool, dark place. At home, the basement or garage are often good storage spots. Do not keep them in the refrigerator, and do not use them after they have sprouted or have green spots.

Nutritionally, white potatoes are high in Vitamin C, providing 45% of  the daily recommended value per serving.  They also provide 10% of Vitamin B6,  8% of thiamin and niacin,  6% of the folate,  iron, phosphorous, and magnesium; plus lesser amounts of calcium,  zinc,  riboflavin, potassium, fiber, and protein.[1]

Because they contain the amino acid  tyrosine, they help thyroid function. Hypothyroidism usually is accompanied by a lack of tyrosine.[2] The protein in potatoes is  high quality and the percentage amount is equally high compared to milk. Protein is also important for good thyroid function.[3]

 A serving of white potatoes provides 12% of the recommended daily amount of fiber, and therefore helps in digestion.[4]  Sweet potatoes are even higher in fiber and also provide magnesium which helps in digestion.[5]

My family recipe for fluffy mashed potatoes may look familiar, but success is in the details.  If you have ever tried to make home made mashed potatoes and were not impressed by the results, you need to follow these instructions carefully. There are a few simple secrets to achieve light and fluffy results. The first important step is to pick the right type of potato. You should only use russets. Make sure they are firm, with no green spots and no sprouts. As you follow the recipe, make sure that the potatoes are boiled to the point of falling apart. Another key to success is the draining. You can use a colander, but shake the colander to get rid of any excess water. 


  • 5 medium firm russet potatoes, no sprouts, no green spots
  • 1 Tablespoon  butter
  • Splash of milk (approximately 1/8 cup)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Steps to follow:

  • Put 8 cups of cool water in a large pot.
  • Peel potatoes and cut them in half. Repeat cutting each half until you have 16 pieces.
  • Put potatoes in the pot and boil on high heat until a fork inserted gently makes them fall apart.
  • Drain using a colander. Return to the pot.
  • Mash with a hand masher.
  • Beat with an electric beater.
  • Add butter and beat again to blend.
  • Add milk and continue beating until well mixed.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.

If you have left overs, save them for the next morning's breakfast. You can make potato pancakes by shaping leftovers into patties. Put some flour on a plate and put the patty in the flour. Flip to coat both sides. Repeat. Melt some butter in a frying pan on medium heat and fry the pancake, turning to brown each side.

Another family recipe to enjoy is potato soup. My recipe is especially healthy because it uses potatoes and onions, plus lemon and kefir. To add another health benefit to my recipe, I use homemade broth.

For homemade broth:  Put approximately 6 bones in a crock pot. Add 1 tbsp vinegar, cover with eight to ten cups of water, and simmer for 24-48 hours. Cool slightly.  Drain the broth and discard bones. Put the broth in the refrigerator to cool.  When cool, it will be like jello and have a layer of fat on top. Discard the fat.

Ingredients for potato soup

  • one batch of homemade broth or two 32 oz. containers
  • 8 medium potatoes, equals 8 cups
  • 4-6 large onions,  8 cups onions, or onions combined with leeks
  • 1-2 lemons, juiced, to taste
  • 1/2 cup of kefir 
  • 4 tbsp butter

Steps to follow:

  • Using a mandoline, thinly slice potatoes and onions that have been peeled.
  • Saute potatoes and onions in butter and add to the broth, which is in a large pot.
  • Bring to a boil on high.  
  • Reduce heat and simmer on medium low until vegetables are very soft (45-60 minutes).
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Turn heat off and blend with an immersion blender to a creamy consistency.
  • Add lemon juice and kefir. Enjoy!
  • Extra soup can be frozen in wide mouth jars that are made for freezing.

Other very simple ways to enjoy potatoes with the skins:

  • Bake a white russet at 350 degrees for approximately one hour, depending on the size. Test for doneness by removing from the oven and carefully poking with a fork. Do not insert the fork if the skin is not pliable. If the skin is hard to prick, it is probably over baked and you may have an explosion.  Serve with butter, ketchup, plain yogurt, sour cream, or cooked vegetables. 
  • Bake a sweet potato and serve with nuts, honey, or butter.
  • If you want more fiber with high concentrations of nutrients, try roasted potato skins.

If you are baking potatoes, make extra so you can reheat and enjoy the next day. Enjoy the convenience of these simple methods of preparation along with the health benefits. And if you are counting calories, there are only 110 calories per serving per medium potato.