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Are Potatoes A Complete Protein? (Quick Read)

Consuming protein-rich foods is incredibly important for good health. This macronutrient fuels your muscles and helps protect you against muscle loss. So, it’s vital to get enough protein each day.

Some people argue that it’s also important to consume foods considered complete proteins – foods that contain all nine essential amino acids that your body cannot produce on its own. 

Luckily, there are many foods like that, and many of them aren’t too high in protein either.

For example, let’s look at one of the most common foods in the world: potatoes.

Are Potatoes A Complete Protein?

Unfortunately, you’d have to eat a lot of potatoes to get enough of each of the nine essential amino acids that your body needs. Because of that, all kinds of potatoes aren’t considered a complete protein.

Still, potatoes are an excellent source of various other nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin B6, fiber, potassium, and many more. 

So, they make for an excellent addition to a healthy, balanced diet.

Are Potatoes A Complete Protein?
Are Potatoes A Complete Protein?

Make sure to also check out Do I Need To Worry About Eating Complete Proteins? and Yes, You Can Be A Vegan And An Athlete Too.

Why are potatoes not a complete protein?

In a single serving, potatoes aren’t a complete protein. They are rather low in three amino acids out of the nine your body can’t produce on its own: tryptophan, methionine, and histidine.

So, you have to consume potatoes with a good source of the three missing amino acids.

In large quantities, potatoes are a complete protein, though. But you’d have to eat around ten potatoes each day to reach the required amount of each amino acid.

If you do that, you’ll get a complete protein, but you’ll miss out on a lot of other nutrients. 

So, it’s best to pair potatoes with other foods rather than base your whole diet around this root vegetable.

How can you make potatoes a complete protein?

How can you make potatoes a complete protein?
How can you make potatoes a complete protein?

You don’t have to consume a ton of potatoes in one sitting to create a complete protein. Instead, serve them with other foods containing the three missing amino acids in adequate amounts.

One of the best ways to create a complete protein pairing with potatoes is to eat them with beans

They are rich in the three amino acids that potatoes aren’t and also provide you with lots of other nutrients.

You can also eat potatoes with dairy products, soy, or meat, as these foods are already complete proteins on their own.

Also, remember that it’s not essential to consume complete protein with every meal. Instead, aim to get enough of each amino acid in a 24-hour window.

Are sweet potatoes a complete protein?

Just like white potatoes, sweet potatoes are an incomplete protein. So, make sure to consume them with other foods containing the missing amino acids.

Sweet potatoes also pair well with beans, such as kidney beans, black beans, and other varieties. So, preparing a meal using beans and potatoes creates a complete protein profile.

Other complete protein pairings with sweet potatoes include carrots, pumpkin seeds, or crimini mushrooms.

Are potato chips a complete protein?

Are potato chips a complete protein?
Are potato chips a complete protein?

Just like potatoes, potato chips aren’t a complete protein. 

They’re also much higher in calories, fat, and sodium, which are bad for your health in large quantities. So, they’re not a great food when it comes to their nutritional content. 

Are potatoes good for you?

Potatoes are quite nutritious when prepared the right way. The best way to consume potatoes is to bake them with their skin on. 

This is important as most of the nutrients are found right underneath their skin.

That’s why peeling them makes them less nutritious.

In addition, potatoes are a great source of fiber, containing 3.8 g of this nutrient in a single medium-sized baked potato. This amount equals around 15% of your daily need for fiber.

The fiber found in potatoes can help you lose weight and prevent heart disease by lowering the levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol in your body. Hence, including this starchy veggie in your diet is a great way to maintain good health.

One medium potato also contains 929 mg of potassium, which is a lot. This is an important mineral, as it helps offset the negative effects of dietary sodium on your blood pressure. Because of that, getting enough potassium lowers your risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Potassium also works as an electrolyte, maintaining fluid balance in your body and preventing dehydration.

Potatoes are one of the best dietary sources of potassium, so it’s beneficial to eat them.

What’s more, potatoes also provide you with 28% of your daily need for vitamin C. Also called ascorbic acid, vitamin C is important for the growth, development, and repair of all your tissues.

Potatoes are high in potassium
Potatoes are high in potassium

This micronutrient also boosts your immune system and helps with wound healing and iron absorption.

Another vitamin that potatoes are rich in is vitamin B6. This nutrient may help improve your mood and reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Vitamin B6 has also been linked to a lower risk of anemia by aiding in hemoglobin production. So, make sure to get enough of this B vitamin from your diet, such as from potatoes.

Potatoes also pack a great dose of magnesium in a single serving. This mineral has anti-inflammatory properties, may help with blood sugar level regulation, and promotes heart health.

Aside from their nutrient content, potatoes also contain powerful antioxidants. Such plant compounds help flush free radicals from your body. This prevents oxidative damage to your cells.

Thanks to that, you’re at a lower risk of various chronic issues like heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer.

In fact, studies show that the antioxidants found in potatoes may suppress the growth of liver and colon tumors.

Conclusion

On their own, potatoes aren’t a complete protein. So, you have to consume them with other foods that contain the missing amino acids that your body cannot produce on its own.

Aside from protein, though, potatoes are still very healthy. They provide you with lots of fiber and an abundance of vitamins and minerals. 

So, they make for a great addition to a healthy diet, regardless of their protein status.

Make sure to also check out Do I Need To Worry About Eating Complete Proteins? and Yes, You Can Be A Vegan And An Athlete Too.

Sources: Nutrition Data, National Library of Medicine, and Wiley Online Library