Potatoes are one of the most versatile vegetables from the nightshade family and the cheapest universal crop produced all over the world and are available all year round. Potatoes are used widely as a staple dietary food in national and international cuisine to add a variety of flavors to food.
However, Potatoes are often considered comfort food. In regards to its nutrition benefits, it has earned a bad reputation that it is starchy food and should be cut out of the diet altogether. In fact, potatoes are naturally gluten-free and are loaded with a variety of nutrients and phytochemicals that can ward of disease and benefit our health. Most food that lacks color also lacks necessary nutrients, but the potato is an exception.
Potatoes are not just a starchy vegetable; it is an excellent storehouse of nutrition and energy. An important addition to a healthy diet, one medium-sized skin-on potato contains around 164 calories, no fat, cholesterol, or sodium. They are loaded with essential vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, and antioxidants.
One medium-sized potato contains nearly half of your daily value of vitamin C along with vitamins A, B, and P. it contains more potassium than a banana and 30 % of the recommended daily value of vitamin B6.
Eating potato with skin can also provide a significant amount of magnesium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, folate, choline, and zinc, and 4.7 gram of dietary fiber. Potatoes are high in water content (About 70-80% of their weight). So the myth that you become fat by eating potatoes is a misconception.
Of course, you are bound to gain weight, when you eat high fat, high cholesterol, processed French fries, potato chips loaded with sodium, oil, and butter, etc.
Health Benefits Of Consuming Potatoes:
1. Potatoes Improve Digestion:
Being a high carbohydrate food, potatoes are digested easily and facilitate digestion. The high fiber content increases the secretion of gastric juices, prevents constipation, helps maintain a healthy digestive tract, and reduces the risk of many health issues related to digestive health. Since it is easily digested and provides energy, it is a great choice for patients, babies, and elderly people .
2. Control Blood Pressure:
Potassium is a mineral known to be essential for maintaining healthy blood pressure. While bananas are known for their high potassium content, very few people know that a regular backed potato contains more than twice potassium. Since potassium has a vasodilation effect, increasing potassium intake may help to lower blood pressure.
Along with potassium, calcium and magnesium contained in potatoes have been found beneficial in lowering blood pressure naturally. The best way to eat potatoes for lowering blood pressure is to bake them with skin on .
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3. Bone Health:
Maintaining bone health needs a combination of nutrients, the iron, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, manganese, and zinc contained in potatoes work together to build and maintain bone strength and structure. Manages to prevent bone loss; zinc and iron play a crucial role in the production and development of collagen. Phosphorus and calcium are needed for bone mineralization .
4. Reduce Risk Of Cardiovascular Disease:
Potatoes contain a wide range of phytochemicals many of these flavonoids work actively to lower the level of LDL cholesterol and thereby keeping the arteries free of fat lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease. Fiber, vitamin B-6, potassium, and vitamin C all these nutrients all support heart health .
5. Relieves Inflammation:
Nutrients like vitamin C, Vitamin B6, manganese contained in potato works effectively in reducing inflammation. Vitamin C which is good antioxidant repairs wear and tear of the tissues, potassium, and vitamin B6 help relieve any inflammation associated with the digestive tract. Its anti-inflammatory effect can even benefit those who suffer from gout and arthritis.
But moderation is the key since it can cause weight gain. Choline present in potatoes is a versatile nutrient that helps with several bodily functions like muscle movement, the transmission of nerve impulses,
maintaining the structure of the cellular membranes assists in the absorption of fat, and also reduces chronic inflammation. To get relief from external inflammation, rubbing raw potatoes can be a great remedy .
6. Cut Cancer Risk:
Some researchers have shown that potatoes contain phytochemicals such as phenolic, flavonoids, and carotenoids which protect the cells against free radical damage and reduce the risk of developing cancer.
The abundance of vitamin C and a compound known as quercetin which has anti-cancer properties and its rich fiber content can also protect against developing colon cancer .
7. Boosts Immunity:
Potatoes are high in vitamin C which has been found to have antimicrobial activities. Vitamin C, zinc, and other minerals contained in potatoes have been found to strengthen the immune system and protect against the common cold and other seasonal infections .
8. Boosts Brain Function:
Potatoes are high in vitamin B6, a nutrient that plays a crucial role in our nervous system which particularly involves certain neurological activity (brain cells). Not just vitamin B6, potatoes contain various components that aid in the proper functioning of the brain.
Being high in carbohydrates helps to maintain the proper glucose level in our blood; the vitamins and minerals like B complex, iron, zinc and phosphorus, potassium ensure proper oxygen supply to the brain.
The wide variety of nutrients contained in potato positively affects the brain function and helps keep it cognitive function and performance high by stimulating blood flow .
9. Provides Cardiovascular Protection:
Besides containing Complex vitamins and vitamin C, minerals, and fiber, potatoes contain compounds like carotenoids which are essential for optimal performance of the internal organ and heart.
But potatoes should be consumed in moderation as it raises the glucose level in your blood, excessive consumption can increase the chances of obesity and put the load on your heart.
Mindful eating is necessary. If you are obese, diabetic, or suffering from heart disease, avoid eating potatoes .
10. Skin Care:
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient needed for collagen production-the skin’s support system. Enhanced collagen production inhibits the formation of wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots and improves skin texture. The antioxidant in vitamin C protects our skin from sun damage, pollution, smoke, etc.
the abundance of minerals like potassium, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus, and water content also contributes to skin health. Potato juice or crushed pulp is often used as an excellent skincare remedy for pimples, dark spots, skin whitening, burns, etc .