Potatoes are one of the most common and important food sources on the planet and they contain a wealth of health benefits that make them all the more essential as a staple dietary item for much of the world’s population.
Children around the world often refuse to eat vegetables but they’re more likely to choose potatoes. This is the strange and magical quality of potatoes; you will rarely find anyone who dislikes them. They are on almost every major continental diet in some form and they can be prepared in dozens of ways, including baked, fried, sliced, mashed and many more.
The reason potatoes have spread across the globe so quickly and have been so widely accepted is because they are a storehouse of energy and nutrition, including vitamins, minerals, and essential organic compounds. One small potato contains about 30 grams of carbohydrates. And one cup of mashed potatoes contains about 214 calories. One small baked potato contains 129 calories and so does one small roasted potato.
Types of potatoes
- Russet ( classic potatoes)
- Fingerling (finger-shaped and small and stubby)
- Red Potato (thin yet vibrant red skin)
- White (They hold their shape well even after cooking)
- Yellow (Grilling them gives them a crispy skin that enhances the dense flesh)
- Purple (The purple color of this type of potatoes is preserved best by microwaving)
Benefits of Potatoes
Potatoes are rich in fiber and potassium, which contribute to most of its benefits. They help lower blood pressure and protect the heart and even treat inflammation and the resultant diseases like cancer and rheumatism.
- Improve Heart Health:
The fiber in the vegetable helps lower excess cholesterol levels in the blood. And potassium protects the heart too. Potatoes are also high in glycemic index, and this could be a negative aspect when it comes to heart health. Potatoes don’t contain cholesterol, which is good news. And they contain fiber, potassium, and vitamins C and B6 – all of which are great for heart health.
- Easy to digest
Since potatoes predominantly contain carbohydrates, they are easy to digest and they also facilitate digestion. The large amount of carbohydrates in potatoes help fuel the reactions in the body required for different processes, one of them being digestion. Most of the fiber in potatoes is found in the skin. And the starch in the potato also adds bulk to the stool – as it is indigestible.
- Reduce Inflammation:
Potatoes also contain compounds called anthocyanins that also offer anti-inflammatory benefits. They are particularly effective in treating gut inflammation.
- High in fiber:
Potatoes also contain a considerable amount of fibre or roughage. This stimulates peristaltic motion and increases secretion of gastric juices, which eases digestion and prevents conditions like constipation
- Lower Blood pressure:
High levels of potassium in the blood can make the kidneys excrete more salt and water – and this helps reduce blood pressure. The skin of potatoes is rich in potassium – a mineral that can help lower blood pressure. The healthiest way to eat potatoes is to first cook them in a microwave oven with no oil, fat, etc. Also, deep frying is a no-no as the process subjects the vegetable to high temperatures that destroy the nutrients present in it.
- Prevent Cancer
Boiling, mashing, or even baking potatoes could make them far more beneficial. Frying potatoes can lead to the synthesis of a chemical called acrylamide, which causes cancer. Baked purple potatoes were also found to cut colon cancer risk. Researchers had observed that extracts of baked potatoes hinder the spread of colon cancer stem cells – and even totally destroyed them in some cases.
- Skin care
Vitamins C and B-complex, as well as minerals like potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc, are good for skin. Apart from that, the pulp obtained from crushed raw potatoes, when mixed with honey, can work well in skin and face packs.
- Treat scurvy
Vitamin C can help prevent scurvy, which is characterized by cracked lip corners, petechiae, spongy and bleeding gums, and frequent viral infections. Since potatoes are good sources of vitamin C, they sure can aid in the treatment of scurvy.
- Treat Kidney stones
Kidney stones, also known as renal calculi, are caused mainly due to increased levels of uric acid in the blood. In such cases, foods high in protein should be avoided, particularly animal proteins such as meat, turkey, shrimp, fish, eggs, and milk, as well as spinach, raw plantain, black grams, and certain beans, which drastically increase the level of uric acid in the blood. potatoes are also rich in magnesium (and low in calcium, the excess of which can also lead to kidney stones), they can play a role in preventing kidney stones.
- Treat wrinkles
Potato works effectively well in slowing down the signs of aging, especially wrinkles. Applying potato paste on the face can do wonders. Just peel and mash potatoes and apply the paste on your skin.
- Treat Sun burns
You can also dab potato juice on the spot. Doing so gives you a cooling sensation and even diminishes your suntan.
- Helps Lighten Skin
You can also use the juices of potato and lemon to lighten your skin naturally. The potato lemon mask can act as a mild bleach and do the job well.
- Proper Functioning of Brain
Potatoes contain iron as well. Therefore, they help deliver oxygen to the brain. There are a wide variety of vitamins and minerals in potatoes that positively affect the function of the brain, including phosphorus, zinc, and the B complex vitamins.
- Help Treat grey hair
A potato hair tonic can do wonders for your hair and prevent and even treat premature graying. This is one of the uses of potato peel. For this purpose, you can also use normally boiled potato water if you are preparing any dish using the vegetable. A hair mask consisting of potato and honey can help prevent hair loss
- Treat Diarrhea
Potatoes are an excellent component of an energy-rich diet for those suffering from diarrhea since they are easy to digest and contain mild roughage.