Potato (Solanum tuberosum) is a vegetable that is a member of the nightshade family. This vegetable has been cultivated for more than 7000 years and is native to the Americas such as Bolivia, the Andes, and Peru.
Potato is one vegetable that children love to eat. Furthermore, potatoes can be prepared in several ways as they can be baked, boiled, fried, mashed, sliced, and roasted.
Potato Nutritional Facts
|Amount Per 100grams|
% Daily Value
Total Fat 0.1g
Saturated Fat 0g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Total Carbohydrates 17g
Dietary Fiber 2.2g
Vitamin A 0%
Vitamin C 32%
Below are various health benefits of potatoes;
1. For Blood Pressure
One of the most effective minerals in maintaining the right blood pressure is Potassium. According to scientific research, potato skin has been found to contain about 535 mg of potassium. That amounts to roughly 15 percent of the recommended amount intake required for the average adult daily. Potassium works by precipitating the production of salt and water by the kidneys, which helps in reducing blood pressure.
Furthermore, potatoes contain antioxidants that serve as supplements for blood pressure medications. The preparation of potatoes determines how healthy they are for your body. An effective way to cook potatoes is by microwave cooking without oil. Deep-frying and excess boiling destroy most of the potatoes nutrients.
2. Boosts Cardiovascular Health
Some of the main minerals and nutrients found in potatoes are vitamin B6, copper, potassium, vitamin C, phosphorus, manganese, niacin, fiber, and pantothenic acid. Most of these nutrients have been found to promote heart health. Fibre, for example, helps in mitigating the production of cholesterol, which is good for the heart.
Research done by the University of Southern California showed that Potassium also helps in lowering the risk of ischemic heart disease, a disease that attacks the heart’s major blood vessels. Consuming eight potatoes daily contains 4,069 mg of potassium, which can lower the risk of ischemic heart disease by over 49%. Over-consumption of potatoes can, however, be detrimental to heart health. This is due to their glycemic index, which is the relative amount of carbohydrates in foods and their effect on blood glucose levels.
3. Prevention Of Cancer
Previously, studies had not shown whether consumption of potatoes had any effect on the amplification of cancerous activity by body cells. A recent study shows that potatoes do not cause cancer except if they are always consumed deep-fried. Deep-frying can lead to the production of acrylamide, a chemical that amplifies the chances of getting cancer.
Mashing, boiling, baking and mild frying enable the potato to retain its nutrients that help in lowering cancer risk. Baked potatoes, for example, helps in alleviating the chances of getting colon cancer as well as hinder the spread of the cancerous cells in patients who already have it. Potatoes also contain a high percentage of Vitamin C which, according to research, helps in reducing the risk of getting cancer. It is also used in high-doses by cancer patients to reduce the effects of cancer treatment.
4. Enhances Brain Health
One of the co-enzyme acids found in potatoes is alpha-lipoic acid. The acid’s main responsibilities are to prevent cell damage, enhance the functioning of neurons and improve general brain health. It also helps in mitigating memory loss occurrence and cognitive decline in Alzheimer disease patients.
According to research, potatoes have also been found to be one of the most effective foods for depression treatment. Potatoes trigger the production of serotonin, which affects neurotransmitters in the brain and dictates one’s mood. Potatoes are high in tryptophan, an amino acid that is converted into serotonin in the brain. Anti-oxidants in potatoes, such as Vitamin C, also boost brain activity and help to maintain mood balance at optimal levels.
5. Reduces Inflammation
Potatoes contain two major glycoalkaloids, a-solanine and a-chaconine, which give potatoes their flavor. In higher concentrations, they can be bitter and toxic to the body. These glycoalkaloids have been linked to the reduction of inflammatory compounds in the body.
Other compounds found in potatoes are anthocyanins, which also act as anti-inflammatory compounds, especially against gut inflammation. These compounds also reduce oxidative stress, which is the imbalance between systemic reactive oxygen species and a system’s ability to detoxify the reactive intermediates. This helps in mitigating the occurrence of inflammation in most body cells. Most of these compounds, found in potatoes, have also been linked to the effective treatment of diseases like arthritis, mouth ulcers, and gout.
6. Improves Body Immunity
Some of the minerals and compounds, found in potatoes, have been linked with the enhancement of the body’s immunity. Research done in the University of Maryland showed that potato compounds help in triggering the production of leucocytes, which help in boosting the body’s immune system. Moreover, minerals and vitamins, such as vitamin C, help in the prevention of common cold and runny nose.
Other minerals, like Zinc, help in boosting the body’s immunity against diseases like Malaria and Pneumonia. Zinc is also an active ingredient in most drugs meant to treat the above ailments. Furthermore, Vitamin C in potatoes has antimicrobial properties for the fight against various harmful microbial agents in the body.
7. Promotes Sleep
Scientifically, foods with a high glycemic index (GI) are linked to a better quality of sleep. For foods rich in carbohydrates, the effects may be different especially in young children. Normally, foods that are rich in carbohydrates result in optimal blood sugar production, which may inhibit sleep in children.
According to a study reported in Sports Magazine, the higher the glycemic index of a type of food, the better the quality of sleep upon consumption. Potatoes are some of the top foods with a high glycemic index of approximately 85 in every medium (173g) potato. For optimal results, doctors recommend that a meal containing potatoes should be taken, at least one hour before sleep.
8. Reduces Premenstrual Symptoms (PMS)
Potatoes, particularly potato juice, is a source of some of the most effective nutrients for PMS alleviation. It contains Vitamin B6 which, according to a report done by The BMJ, proved the efficacy of the mineral in alleviating PMS. In a research done on over 900 patients, the medical journal found that a high concentration intake of Vitamin B6 (100 mg per day) helped in maintaining optimal mood levels. Moreover, potatoes also contain an amino acid called tryptophan that triggers serotonin production. Like Vitamin B6, serotonin helps in maintaining optimal mood levels during PMS.
9. Lowers Cholesterol In The Blood
Depending on how they are prepared, potatoes can be effective in lowering cholesterol in your blood. Dietary fibers, which are found on the skin of the potato, are responsible for maintaining the optimum levels of blood cholesterol.
Soluble fiber is contained in the skin of potatoes. Hence, removing the skin deprives you of this important substance. Baking, mild boiling and using little amounts of olive oil are the recommended ways of preparing potatoes.
Deep-frying potatoes, however, may have an opposite effect on the blood cholesterol levels. Consuming excess deep-fried potatoes can raise blood cholesterol, which has negative effects on the body.
10. Prevents the Formation Of Kidney Stones
A study by the University of Maryland Medical Center found that substances, such as fiber and magnesium, which are found in potatoes help in preventing the formation of kidney stones.
Kidney stones are caused by the elevation of uric acid in the blood. Uric acid is mainly produced during the breakdown of proteins in the body. Consuming foods that have high protein content like fish, meat, eggs, milk, spinach, etc. can increase the levels of uric acid produced by the body.
Moreover, minerals like iron and calcium also contribute to the formation of kidney stones by the body. Magnesium inhibits calcification, which is the accumulation and deposition of calcium in the blood, hence preventing kidney stone formation.
11. Enhances Satiety And Weight Management
Some of the most common and effective ways of maintaining the right body weight are by consuming foods that are high in their satiating properties. Satiety is the feeling of fullness after a meal, which helps to suppress appetite and hence reduce weight gain. According to a study done by the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, potatoes were found to have the highest satiety index when compared to forty other common foods. This is because potatoes contain high amounts of proteinase inhibitor 2 (PI2), which has been linked to appetite suppression.
12. Promotes Bone Formation And Strength
Potatoes are rich in minerals that help in the formation of stronger bones. Minerals like magnesium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, and zinc are responsible for the formation of strong bones, teeth, etc. Minerals like zinc and iron also help in the production of collagen, which is the main structural protein found in the skin and other connective tissues.
13. Helps In The Prevention Of Scurvy
Scurvy is a disease caused by a deficiency of Vitamin C, and which results in bleeding gums and resurfacing of recently healed wounds. As aforementioned, potatoes are rich in Vitamin C and hence remain effective in the prevention and treatment of scurvy.
14. Removal Of Dark Circles On The Skin
Just like cucumbers that are most common in the treatment of dark circles around the eyes, potatoes contain nutrients, such as vitamin C, that aid in the same. Placing potato slices on the eyes occasionally before sleep can help in getting rid of the unwanted dark circles. Its minerals and vitamins act as antioxidants which help to eliminate oxidation that cause the formation of the circles.
15. Reduction Of Wrinkles
According to a study, potatoes were found to have anti-aging properties when both consumed and applied to the skin. The most effective way, however, is by applying potato paste on the face for twenty minutes before you sleep. The paste should be applied raw over the wrinkled area to eliminate the wrinkles and leave a smooth and younger face.
16. Treatment Of Sunburns
One of the most effective ways of coping with sunburns is by maintaining healthy and hydrated skin. Potatoes contain high amounts of water and are, hence, effective in promoting skin hydration and preventing sunburns. Placing a peeled potato on the burned skin area can help reduce the sensation and ultimately treat the burned area.
17. Enhances Skin Lightening
A study by The BMJ found that potatoes are some of the most effective natural skin lightening vegetables available. Natural vitamins like vitamin C and E, found in potatoes, are active agents in most skin lightening oils. Grating and applying fresh potato for thirty minutes every day can help improve the skin’s pigmentation and leave you with more radiant skin.
18. Amplification Of Collagen Production
As seen earlier, collagen is the active protein in the skin and other connective tissues. It is essential for the maintenance of firmness and elasticity in various structures including the skin. It is simply the glue that holds our skin together. Vitamin C is an active agent in the production and sustenance of collagen in the body. Potatoes are rich in Vitamin C and are hence a reliable source to maintain a healthy collagen structure.
19. Treatment Of Dry Skin
In most cases, dry skin is as a result of skin dehydration. Basking in the hot sun or taking part in intense workout sessions without breaks can lead to dehydration of the skin. One of the most effective remedies to treat dry skin is a mixture of grated potatoes and curd. Applying the paste for thirty minutes helps your skin to retain moisture and get rid of dry skin.
20. Removal Of Dark Spots On The Skin
The dark spots commonly found on the skin are because of oxidation on the skin, which leaves a dark spot. This is mainly common in people who rarely consume antioxidant foods that can help in inhibiting the oxidation process. As seen above, potatoes are a rich source of Vitamin C, one of the most effective antioxidants. Consuming potatoes can help increase the intake of the vitamin. Moreover, placing a freshly cut potato piece on a spotted part of the face can help to get rid of the spot over time.
21. Prevents Hair Loss
The liquid content found in a potato, also known as potato juice, is effective in hair loss prevention when mixed with other ingredients like honey and aloe vera. The paste is formed by extracting the potato juice and mixing it with two tablespoonsful of aloe vera and one tablespoonful of honey. The paste should be used to massage the scalp and applied for a few hours. It is mostly recommended before going to bed and should be applied at least twice a week for the best results.
22. Treatment Of Grey Hair
Grey hair is mainly caused by the inhibition of hair pigmentation agents in the body. The main agent is melanin, which is responsible for the pigmentation of the hair. The juice, found in potatoes, also helps in retaining the natural color of hair. Boiling unpeeled potatoes in water and using the water to rinse your hair, after washing, can help in treating grey hair over time.
23. Enhance Athletic Performance
Potatoes comprise some of the most recommended foods for various athletes. This is because it contains some essential minerals and nutrients that are categorical in providing general body strength. Minerals like potassium, sodium, magnesium, phosphorous, etc are highly recommended for athletes. Moreover, potatoes have a high satiety index, which makes them a long-lasting source of energy needed during strenuous activities.
24. Prevention And Treatment Of Diarrhea
A study done by the Journal of Parental and Enteral Nutrition found that both soluble and insoluble fiber is good for the treatment of diarrhea. Potatoes are rich in fiber, which can help prevent diarrhea. Moreover, they contain mild roughage that is effective in preventing and curing diarrhea.
25. Improves The Nervous System
Potatoes contain choline, a versatile nutrient in the body that helps in improving the body’s nervous system including; reducing chronic inflammation, enhancing sleep, learning, memory improvement, muscle movement and the transmission of nerve impulses.
26. Improves Digestion
Potatoes are rich in carbohydrates, which are essential in promoting fast and safe digestive processes. Because of the ease of digestion, potatoes are hence a good source of energy foods for infants who are unable to digest hard foods.
27. Promotes Production Of Red Blood Cells
In addition to lowering blood cholesterol, potatoes contain minerals and nutrients that boost the production of hemoglobin. This is because they are rich in Vitamins B6, which is an active agent in the production of red blood cells. The increase of red blood cells in the body helps in the enhancement of overall body health.
Word Of Caution
- It is advisable that those with severe renal diseases or chronic kidney failure should avoid eating potatoes.
- Green potatoes tend to be poisonous. Furthermore, potato leaves and fruits are also poisonous as they could contain arsenic, chaconine, solanine in relatively high quantities.
- Potato has a very high glycemic index (GI). As such, if you are obese or are diabetic, care should be taken if you want to eat potatoes.
- It is preferable, health-wise, to bake potatoes rather than frying them.
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