Although there is much debate among nutritionists and health sector around the world regarding the classification of potato as a vegetable or not in general, it is still undoubtedly one of the most common, accessible, affordable and healthy sources of food for all. There is no denying of its beneficial and utterly impressive effects most of you are unaware of. You can eat them and ultimately change your health condition as it is a very powerful and more than able to cater the needs of your body for longevity. Potatoes amazing benefits in your health are digestive and bowel improvement, cholesterol level reduction, cardio health promotion, polyps and certain tumor evasion, diabetes control and management, cancer prevention, immune system strengthening, aging signs decelerate, skin care, good blood circulation, blood pressure control, fluid balance maintenance, insomnia tendency prevention, eye health nourishment.
Commonly known as Potato termed in reference to the plant or the entire tube, with a scientific name Solanum Tuberosum, is a vegetable belonging to the Nightshade family. It is believed to have originated and first farmed in the Central American region all the way to the South American lands 7000 to 10,000 years ago. Native cultivators include Andes, Bolivia, and Peru. Potatoes are known to look deformed and shapeless that varies in size, available in different servings from the commercial market and food industry, and a vegetable that seemed to be quite popular young and adults alike. Potato is also considered a starchy food that is usually paired with other foods that are high in carbohydrates though if consumed alone, potato is much healthier than you think it is. It has several preparations for consumption like baked, mashed, steamed and fried, all the same, it is preferred by most among any other vegetable there is even with the population of children. With a good meal, potatoes are good for your daily diet with its delicious and tasty nature guaranteed to bring you the ideal fit and healthy body.
Currently, it is the potatoes which ranked the 4th largest crop in the world providing a major supply for food resources in different parts of the globe not only in America. Parts other than the Central and Southern America had only begun cultivating the crop just around 400-500 years ago. Apparently, China, India, and other neighboring countries in Asia constitute 1/3 of massive cultivation of potatoes in comparison to other countries due their need and preference of potatoes in their cuisine as part of their most common and popular ingredients for different recipes.
Potatoes have come a long way and now it is regarded as an essential food source and integral part of making several dishes. Though there are many who claim to be potato lovers out there, a great number of the population is still skeptical about potato being a starchy food and contains carbohydrates and calories. Even still, that very reason is overshadowed by a lot of facts you will encounter upon knowing the greater and far more incredible pro-health benefits and advantages in eating potatoes. Not only does it qualify as a delicious and tasty vegetable but also comes with a great boost in your health issues.
To start, let us come to familiarity with the background and trivia you need to know about potatoes and its impressive traits and goodness it will do to your body. Let us justify why in the first place it is the world-famous vegetable of all time.
Nutritional Value of Potatoes
The widespread acceptance and popularity of potatoes in different countries worldwide is nothing but believably natural and more than understandable as it surpasses expectations on its quality and richness of nutrition. It contains essential vitamins, minerals, and organic compounds our body requires to live a healthy life. It is necessary to know what the specific component potatoes do contain that is the determinants of its superb health benefits.
Mineral Content. Who would have thought that consuming potatoes with its skin will be such an advantage? High of potassium is at its peak in the skin and the part just below it and could do you a whole lot of favor for an excellent supply of water and ions inside your body. Eating potatoes frequently will prove essential for more mineral treats for your health including phosphorus, iron, and calcium in addition to the high content of potassium.
Vitamin Content. A great amount of Vitamin C is also present in potatoes, and how is this a surprise? Well, most of us think we could only take advantage a whole lot of Vitamin C from supplements and fruits. Technically, consumption of just a 100mg of potato is equal to 17mg of Vitamin C intake. Is it not only good enough but definitely more than good enough to know our favorite vegetable of all time contains as much as delicious fruits do? To add more, Vitamin A, B and P is also of a decent amount contained in potatoes.
Water Content. Several misconceptions arise in indulging yourself with potatoes. Some do believe that you are bound to get fat and overweight when you eat potatoes. Yes, this vegetable is fleshy, quite big and heavy, but what most don’t understand is that around 70 to 80 percent of it is water. So now, let’s be clear. It isn’t the potatoes that will make you fat but the consumption of other food that comes along when served with potatoes such as pairing one with butter, cheese, pork and other high-calorie foods, or much oil in the case of French fries. Good to know, that since it consists of much water in it, you will feel fuller after eating it and you will tend to binge further.
Starch Content. Typically, a potato contains around 17% starch and good enough to be natural. Though, it is advisable to avoid such sprouted or developed potatoes as it may have greater chances of more of the starch transformed into sugar causing your sugar level to increase. It is pretty much a given rule to avoid an abundance of sugar as it could cause improper and poor attention to your sugar management in the body.
Note: Eating potato without the skin is likely throwing away the rich nutrient and vitamin content of the vegetable. It is the skin part which offers the most essential and beneficial content. Working much like apples, eat your potatoes without removing its skin and the part below it for you not to end up consuming its carbohydrate portion only!
Health Benefits of Potatoes
Weight Gain. Preferably and especially for those whose work and careers involve more physical endeavors than the usual, potatoes are great to gain weight as a substantial portion of it is made up of carbohydrates with only a small percentage of protein. Underweight people whose metabolism enable them to lose weight easily and needs to gain more weight, potatoes are one of the best natural solutions. Potatoes Vitamin C and Vitamin B-complex helps in absorbing carbohydrates certainly which is also a very good reason why potatoes and the like are the primary options for athletes, sumo wrestlers, sports enthusiast to intake an energy-boosting and natural carbohydrate supplier to the body.
Digestion. It is one of the many blessings by eating potatoes – improved digestion. In the cases of children who, at times, unable to digest food easily and with a greater risk of abnormal bowel movement, absorption of energy is unlikely. This could cause malnutrition or plain weak and frail body. Previously, we have revealed how potatoes contain a considerable amount of carbohydrates, you should take into account how carbs are, in fact, a good digestive element because of its properties. It facilitates proper and good digestion in your stomach, thus, digestion-related problems can be prevented or treated. Another component in potato that is just as beneficial as its other elements, is the fiber. Fiber is doubled when consuming the vegetable raw and cold compared with boiled and hot. Peristaltic motion and more gastric juices discharge are stimulated because of fiber that will lead to good digestion and will eventually evade constipation and avoid risks of a much serious illness like colorectal cancer to develop in you. Cholesterol in your veins and arteries are also not a problem because of the fiber content which is good in lowering risks of high blood pressure levels, strokes, and heart-related issues.
Skin Care. Potatoes could be at par when it comes to skin care as much as papaya after all. Magnesium, Potassium, Phosphorus, and Zinc, as well as Vitamin C and B-complex, are some of the adequate content found in the vegetable to provide for sustaining your skin care needs. Pimples and spots in your skin can be treated. Not to mention, burns and darkened spots in your elbows, and knees can be remedied with smashed potatoes and used water for washing and storing potatoes. Skin and face packs alternatives also involve pulp drained from crushed raw potatoes dipped in honey. This is good news for beauty and skin care enthusiasts out there. Both for cuisine and skin care applications, well, that’s potatoes for you!
Scurvy. Possible symptoms, and signs of poor health like cracked lip corners, bleeding gums and infection are caused by a deficiency of Vitamin C. As earlier stated, Vitamin C make up a substantial amount of potatoes, thus, this vegetable makes a perfect alternative for other Vitamin C supplements and fruits. With potato being a very common vegetable accessible to different countries, you might just need potatoes with its content found all in one crop that could solve almost all there is you could ever need for aiming a healthy physical state.
Rheumatism. There are contrasting effects to rheumatism regarding potatoes. First, calcium and magnesium are able to relieve rheumatism and what’s more is that used water from boiled potatoes dismisses pain and inflammation caused by Rheumatism. It sounds good but the second effect is a catch. Potato also contains a portion predominantly of carbohydrates and starch which may contribute an increase in body mass and excess of calorie to the rheumatic patient, thus, may result in health deterioration and other disease triggered by the adverse effect. The recommended approach to this is to avoid much consumption for a moderate and controlled body weight. This simply states that potato can relieve rheumatism but only at a certain point and only as an alternative.
Inflammation. Much like rheumatism relief by potato, inflammation treatment goes into a 2-way balance. The presence of Vitamin C, which is a helpful antioxidant that repairs tissues, along with Vitamin B6 and potassium, inflammation inside and out is no match for the capacity potato relieves. Even arthritis and gout which exhibit inflammation, potatoes are a very good and natural remedy to ease the soreness. The downside is the carbohydrate content which poses possibilities of increasing weight and may trigger adverse results and more so worsen the inflammation itself. Just take note of the recommended approach to a balance and weighing of your alternatives. Only remember that inflammation gets worse with meat, thus, consuming potato for the sole purpose of relieving inflammation should not be done so with pork and the likes considering potatoes are pretty common to be mixed in together with meat in some dishes.
Cancer Prevention. For numerous reasons, potatoes are definitely anti-cancer vegetable lowering risks for you to develop this disease. The Agricultural Research have undeniably excellent proof that potatoes are, in fact, a good source of a compound called Quercetin that can fight degenerative disease like cancer and malignant tumor. Red and russet types of potatoes are even containing a high concentration of flavonoid antioxidants, as well as Vitamin A that shield you from all types of cancer. These antioxidants include Zeaxanthin and Carotenes are highly present in potatoes which can guarantee slightly to zero percent chance of developing cancer diseases. Also, Vitamin A and Vitamin C adds more defensive immunity properties against cancer conception.
High Blood Pressure. Truly undeniable, potatoes manage your blood pressure level through the contents that come with it. One, potassium from potatoes covers 46% of daily requirement needed by your body since it acts as a vasodilator to lower your blood pressure levels. Two, fiber is also a component from potatoes that lowers the percentage of cholesterol in your bloodstream, as well as lowered blood pressure through proper functioning of your insulin. You must remember that blood pressure and glucose content in your blood is directly proportional and relative to each other. Lastly, potatoes induce tension in helping relieve high blood pressure. Though in the cases of high blood pressure induced by diabetes, potatoes aren’t as advisable unlike the other numerous reasons stated previously. Thus, a case to case basis should be taken into account when high blood pressure incident is involved and its causes should be determined accordingly as that of nutrient balance, indigestion, food content, diabetes, or tension. A high blood pressure level is quite formidable and careful measures should be considered as it could lead to stroke or heart complications.
Brain Function. What regulates mental health and proper functioning of your brain is determined by the adequate glucose level, certain required amount of oxygen, qualities and properties of Vitamin B complex, hormones, amino acids, fatty acids such as omega-3, the supply of potassium, phosphorus, and zinc. All of these are impressively provided by elements found in potatoes. As mentioned previously, potatoes predominantly contain carbohydrates which consequently assure a supply of glucose and enable the brain to perform as it should normally do. As for the oxygen supply, hemoglobin is provided adequately to be able to carry the needed oxygen in the brain. This hemoglobin comes from Iron which also happens to be a compound in potatoes. Certain qualities for good brain stimulation is also offered by the vasodilator extents potassium does. Truly magnificent how potatoes almost carry the needed requirement to keep the brain healthy apart from keeping your whole body rich in nutrients it needs to function properly and live healthily. With the brain, controlling all the functions of your senses and organs, it needs all the nutrition necessary to keep you alive and kicking, right?
Heart Diseases. Eating potatoes for heart disease reasons should be well thought of. Although, it guarantees Carotenoids such as Lutein and Zeaxanthin for a healthy heart condition, the potatoes’ carbohydrate contain stands in the way. It is not advisable, after all, for the obese and diabetic people to consume carbohydrate-rich food. In doing so, probably minimal intake will do. Still, it is a fact that potatoes improve your heart’s health but it cannot its only applicable in a case to case basis. Over consumption of a carbohydrate-rich food by overweight and diabetic patients puts pressure on the heart and might trigger worse complications. On the other hand, it is strongly suggested for those people under normal blood sugar level and normal body mass index to try giving your heart the health it deserves by eating some potatoes.
Kidney Stones. Potatoes contain magnesium which deprives calcification in the kidney. This proves to be a good treatment of Renal Calculi, or commonly known as Kidney Stones. What constitutes this complication is the excessive quantity of uric acid in your blood. Furthermore, uric acid is supported by eating protein-rich foods like pork, fish, shrimp, turkey, nuts and beans, even milk and raw plantain. Avoid consumption of the said foods to evade uric acid increase in your body. On the other hand, potatoes also contain Iron and Calcium that both contribute to kidney stones but its purpose defeated with the inhibition of calcification which magnesium is responsible for. Though of contrasting and adverse role, it is not a denied fact that magnesium holds the more advantage of eradicating Renal Calculi, as it is more defined in terms of a role to play in this method of remedy.
Diarrhea. Yes, potatoes definitely can fill your body with energy-boosting effects when you are suffering from diarrhea especially that suffering from one somehow induces weakness in your body. Aside from its roughage content, potatoes are very easy to digest. Beware though, because excessive eating of it will induce diarrhea itself due to the starch content. Consume only adequate amount and it will definitely be alright.
Other Benefits and Cautions. As potatoes are revealed to contain more or less 70% of liquid, juice extract from it has numerous use for other than the ones mentioned above. Some of these benefits are for skin conditions, bruises and sprains, burns, ulcers, narcotics effects, development of tumor and cysts, prostate and uterine cancer. A word of advice, not everything about potato is good for you in the sense of poisonous content is present in the leaves, fruits of the plant and so with the green kind of potato. Alkaloids namely Solanine, Chaconine, and Arsenic are chemicals present in the said parts that can result in harmful and deathly consequence. Due to the fact that potatoes contain a high glycemic index or the energy and sugar percentage, eating potatoes is strongly discouraged for people who are overweight or obese, people on a strict diet, and people who are suffering from diabetes. As for cooking preparation, baked potatoes are preferably healthier in comparison to raw or fried when eaten.
With all those possible health risks mentioned, the above statements only effect on a minimal account and do not mean gravely when eaten in moderation. The famous catchphrase, “Too much of anything is bad” can be applied here as something harmful will take place only if you’ve overdone it. Though it’s never a bad thing to enjoy some French fries every now and then as long as it’s not that much!
Tips to Reduce Loss of Nutrients in Potato
Check out the do’s and don’ts regarding serving preparation of potato as you may unknowingly lose its overall nutrients in the process of doing so.
Cooking preparations and some practice most of us usually do involve peeling out the skin of potatoes. This is a big no! This outer shell does not only carry with it the highest concentration of nutrients but it also serves to keep the nutrients inside the potato especially when boiled and cooked. Just beneath the skin lies the part with protein and other minerals in it too. Don’t ever peel the skin to avoid the nutrients from escaping.
If you plan to boil some potatoes, only put the potatoes in when the water reaches the boiling point before adding those. Doing so will keep the Vitamin C content a hundred percent and also reduce the regular cooking time.
As much as possible, avoid or keep at the bare minimum when it comes to fried-cooking of potatoes as Vitamin C of up to 75% will be lost along the process. instead, try baking or steaming one to fully enjoy the overall natural nutrients potatoes offer. You could even attempt for a new recipe called barbecue roasted potato if you’d like!