By Sushmita Sengupta– India
Potatoes: The super vegetable has many benefits that are not known to many.
Potatoes are one of the most popular vegetables in India and worldwide. All thanks to potatoes, we have our beloved French fries, which is one of the human race’s favorite dishes. Although this dish is not as healthy as it should be, many other dishes with potatoes as ingredients are much healthier. You see potatoes in your curries, you see potatoes in your stews, street-side chaat, homemade pulavs and biryani, you see potatoes everywhere. Potatoes are an indispensable part of Indian cooking and we aren’t complaining! It’s ability to blend into any preparation and shine as one the star ingredients is what makes it a favourite in kitchens both home and abroad. The many health and skin benefits of potatoes make the vegetable all the more special. Potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C, Potassium, fibre, B vitamins copper, tryptophan, manganese and even lutein, notes the book ‘Healing Foods’ by DK Publishing. It also works wonders for curbing inflammation in the body and boost immunity and healthy blood circulation.
- Reducing Inflammation
According to the book ‘Healing Foods’ the “Alkalising and anti-inflammatory, potatoes soothe stomach and duodenum ulcers and reduce stomach acidity. They may also relieve the inflammation associated with arthritis.” Add potatoes to your diet, but, remember that eating anything in excess is harmful. Moderation is the key!
- Regulates Blood Pressure
Yes, potatoes can help ensure healthy BP. Now that doesn’t mean you start noshing into greasy French fries, chips and all the processed junk. The consequences of munching into the junk will take its toll on your heart, but that doesn’t mean you need to eliminate potatoes from your diet right away. If prepared well (Read: Baked, mashed or tossed in salads), potatoes can help regulate blood pressure. Macrobiotic nutritionist and Health Practitioner Shilpa Arora says, “Potatoes have about 100 calories, but its highly nutritious and it is only the way we cook potatoes that have given it a bad rep. It is great for people with high blood pressure and water retention coz it balances high sodium levels.” Potatoes are also rich in chlorogenic acid and anthocyanins, chemicals that help lower blood pressure.
- Helps Calm You Down
According to the book ‘Healing Foods’, Potatoes, especially its white flesh, is rich with tryptophan, an amino acid with natural sedative properties that helps calm the nerves. L-tryptophan is an amino acid. L-tryptophan is called an essential amino acid as our body can’t make it naturally. It must be acquired from food like potatoes.
- Heart-Healing Properties
Did you know potatoes contain zero cholesterol? That’s right, potatoes have no cholesterol. It is only the oil and cholesterol laden ingredients it is cooked with that makes it a threat to the heart. Potatoes, in fact, could do wonders for your heart with its heart healing antioxidant anthocyanins. They also contain fiber, potassium, and vitamins C and B6 – all of which are great for heart health.
- Improve Brain Health
The alpha lipoic acid, a co enzyme present in the potatoes can help boost overall cognitive health. Experts have linked this acid to have beneficial effects on Alzheimer’s patients as well. A number of vitamins and minerals present in potatoes positively affect the function of the brain (including zinc, phosphorus, and B complex). Vitamin B6 is particularly critical to maintaining neurological health.
Eating potatoes can help boost cognitive abilities
- Help Promote Digestion
The high fibre content of potatoes aids smoother digestion. Fiber supports digestion and promotes bowel regularity by adding bulk to stool. Potatoes can also help quick recovery from diarrhea. Potatoes are rich in potassium, a mineral that is excessively lost during diarrhea.
- Promote Sleep
Tryptophan, which is naturally found in potatoes, is a natural sedative that ensures good sleep. Also, the potassium in potatoes acts as a muscle relaxant, which further ensures a more restful sleep and relaxation.Plus, it is a well-known fact that foods high in carbohydrates often inhibit regular sleeping patterns, especially in children.
- Relieve Premenstrual Symptoms
According to some studies, potato juice could help alleviate Premenstrual syndrome symptoms. The high carb content of potatoes, helps elevate the levels of tryptophan, which further boosts the serotonin production in the body (Serotonin is also called the happiness hormone). This spike in serotonin helps improving mood and reduces anxiety.
- Good for bones
“Rich in calcium and phosphorous, potatoes help strengthen bones” says Shilpa. The iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc present in potatoes all contribute to the building and maintenance of bone structure and strength. Zinc and iron play critical roles in the production and maturation of collagen. Potato has all these components.
Benefits of Potato for skin
Did you know potato boasts of an excellent collagen boosting ability. A simple potato facial mask can help treat acne and other skin conditions like dark spots and blemishes.
Delhi’s leading skin and hair expert, Dr. Deepali Bhardwaj says, “As a dermatologist, I recommend my patients to use potato juice under the eyes. It has skin tightening properties and can reduce premature ageing and wrinkles. Since the skin under our eyes is thin, it tends to wrinkle fast, potato juice comes to the rescue.” Here’s how you can use potato and potato juice to treat your many skin woes.
- For Dark Circles and Puffy Eyes
Peel a raw potato and slice it into large pieces. Now take a cloth or a towel and wrap the piece of potato in it and slowly place it over your dark circles. Let it sit for 20 minutes. Wash your eyes with water.
- Reducing Fine Lines and Wrinkles
The vitamin c content of the vegetable can bring down visible signs of ageing from your face. To get rid of the wrinkles, apply the some potato juice on the affected area and see the results for yourself. You can also apply some finely mashed raw potato paste on the skin. Leave it on for about 15-20 minutes and rinse it off with water.
- Removes Dead Skin Cells
Potatoes can do wonders to exfoliate your skin from within. “The antioxidant rich peels can be applied to skin to exfoliate the skin. Doing this can help remove dead skin cells and rejuvenate your skin”, notes Shilpa. Apply potato juice on your face and neck to remove dead skin from your face.
- Treats Dry Skin
Rich in vitamin C, potatoes can help treat dry skin by nourishing it from within. Make a paste of grated potato and half a teaspoon of curd. Apply it on your face and leave it on for 20-25 minutes. Rinse it off with cold water. Use this regularly to have better results. Interesting, right?
14. Helps Treat Sunburns
Potato juice or just two cut slice of potatoes can also help treat sunburns effectively. Take potato slices, preferably cold and apply it on the affected areas of your skin. If you have some potato juice you can dab it on the affected area. This would give out the cooling sensation to your sun burnt skin and help you repair your damaged skin.