Are you planning to dump your love for potatoes to fit into your weight loss regime? Well, the truth is, potatoes are low in calories and are filled with vitamins, minerals and nutrients. All you need to care about is the preparation of potato that you eat.
Potato was introduced to the world by the Spanish in the 16th Century. The word “potato” comes from the Spanish word “patata”. On an average, each global citizen eats 33kg of potatoes each year. Humans can even survive only on potatoes which are a rich source of Vitamin C, potassium, and fiber, irrespective of how it is prepared like boiled, baked, sauted roasted or fried. Potatoes are a nutritious and filling staple for hundreds of people throughout the world.
Potatoes are a natural source of fiber, protein and starchy carbohydrates and these are certified as heart-healthy food by American Heart Association. It is one of the most common and vital food sources in the world. The health benefits associated with potatoes are as follows:
- improves digestion
- reduce cholesterol levels
- boost heart health
- protect from polyps
- prevent cancer
- manage diabetes
- strengthen the immune system
- reduce signs of aging
- protect the skin
- increase circulation
- reduce blood pressure
- maintain fluid balance
- reduce insomnia
- boost eye health.
Nutrition Quotient of Potatoes
Do you wonder why potatoes are so widely accepted vegetable? It is because they provide energy and nutrients which includes vitamin, minerals and essential organic compounds.
Mineral Content: Potatoes are rich in potassium. It ensures a rich supply of water and ions to the body. The mineral concentration is maximum in the skin and beneath it. Potato also contains calcium, iron and phosphorus.
Vitamin Content: Potatoes are rich in Vitamin C. A 100 gm of potato may contain 17 mg of Vitamin C. In addition, it also contains Vitamin A and B.
Water Content: About 70-80 percent of the weight is water. So, just having potatoes doesn’t increase your weight, unless you add large quantities of butter, or if cannot avoid those French fries with high fat and high cholesterol content.
Starch Content: Potatoes are one of the best natural sources of starch. However, the sprouted potatoes should be avoided as sprouting causes conversion of starch to sugar.
Health Benefits of Potatoes
Aids Digestion: Potatoes predominantly contains carbohydrates, so they are easy to digest and facilitate digestion. They are a good diet for babies or patients who cannot digest hard food, but need energy. It prevents constipation and colorectal cancer. Fiber content in potatoes helps to reduce cholesterol and improve heart health.
Promotes Skin Care: Potatoes are a good source of Vitamin B complex and Vitamin C, minerals like potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc which is good for skin. Also the pulp obtained from crushed raw potatoes mixed with honey helps to cure pimples and spots on the skin. The vitamin C present in potato helps to prevent scurvy (disease caused due to deficiency of Vitamin C).
Reduces inflammation: Potatoes are helpful for those who are suffering from mouth ulcers. It relieves inflammation of the intestine and digestive system, since it has potassium and Vitamin B6. It gets digested easily and also it has lots of Vitamin C, an antioxidant that repairs tissue wear and tear.
Prevents Cancer: Some types of potatoes (like red and russet ones) are rich in flavonoid antioxidants and Vitamin A like zeaxanthin and carotenes which helps to prevent certain forms of cancer. Studies also suggest that potatoes contain a compound called quercetin which has anti cancer and anti-tumor properties.
Prevents Heart Diseases: Potatoes are rich in Vitamin C and B-complex, minerals and substances like carotenoids (lutein, zeaxanthin), which is good for heart health. However over consumption of potato may increase the blood sugar level and also cause obesity, which puts pressure on the heart. Therefore, you should be careful about the amount and way of preparation when you consume potatoes.
Prevents High blood pressure: Potassium found in potatoes lowers the blood pressure as it acts like a vasodilator. Potatoes help to reduce blood pressure due to tension or stress. The fiber in potatoes helps to lower the cholesterol and improve insulin functions which in turn help to lower the blood pressure.
Improves Brain Function: Potatoes increase the blood flow to the brain, because of the vasodilating properties of potassium. Potatoes improve brain functions in different ways like it balances the glucose level, oxygen supply, and provides Vitamin B-complex and certain hormones, amino acids and fatty acids like omega-3. Potatoes contain carbohydrate and thus maintain glucose level in blood, which prevents brain from fatigue and keeps the cognitive performance active.
Prevents Kidney Stones: Potatoes contain magnesium which prevents calcification (accumulation or deposition of calcium) in the kidneys and other tissues; thereby, helps to prevent kidney stones (renal calculi).
Other health benefits: The juice from potato helps to cure burns, bruises, skin problems, ulcers, effects of narcotics, prostrate cancer, uterine cancer and the formation of cysts or tumor.
Therefore, revive your love for potatoes. It can save you from various health hazards. And don’t worry you won’t be a couch potato if you eat potato in moderation.