HEALTH BENEFITS OF POTATOES
Potatoes are edible tubers, available worldwide and all year long. They are relatively cheap to grow, rich in nutrients and they can make a delicious meal. The fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals it provides can help ward off disease and benefit human health. Some of the health benefits of potatoes include:
1) Bone health-The iron, phosphorous, calcium, magnesium, and zinc in potatoes all help the body to build and maintain bone structure and strength. Iron and zinc play crucial roles in the production and maturation of collagen- the protein responsible for skin elasticity which also plays a role in joint and bone health. Phosphorus and calcium are both important in bone structure, but it is important to balance the two minerals for proper bone mineralization.
2) Blood pressure-A low sodium intake is essential for maintaining a healthy blood pressure, but increasing potassium intake may be just as important. Potassium encourages vasodilation, or the widening of the blood vessels which regulates blood pressure.
3) Heart health-Potatoes contain significant amounts of fiber. Fiber helps lower the total amount of cholesterol in the blood, thereby decreasing the risk of heart disease. Together with potassium, vitamin C and vitamin B6 content, coupled with its lack of cholesterol all support good heart health.
4) Inflammation-Choline is an important and versatile nutrient that is present in potatoes. It helps with muscle movement, mood, learning, and memory. It also assists in maintaining the structure of cellular membranes, transmitting nerve impulses, absorption of fat and early brain development.
5) Cancer-Potatoes contain folate. Folate plays a role in DNA synthesis and repair, and so it prevents many types of cancer cells from forming due to mutations in the DNA. Fiber intake from fruits and vegetables like potatoes are associated with a lowered risk of colorectal cancer. Vitamin C and quercetin present in potatoes also function as antioxidants, protecting cells against damage from free radicals.
7. Alleviate Kidney Stones– Raised uric acid levels in the blood is the main contributor of kidney stones. The hard masses of calcium crystals in urine can create painful stones that are excruciating to pass. Those suffering from kidney stones can find many extra benefits from ingesting the entire potato peel, a rich source of such relieving nutrients as alkaline salts, copper, manganese, potassium, and B-vitamins.
A 100-gram (g) is a little more than half of a medium size potato. This much white potato, baked with skin, contains:
- 94 calories
- 15 grams of fat
- 0 grams of cholesterol
- 08 grams of carbohydrate
- 1 grams of dietary fiber
- 10 grams of protein
- 10 milligrams (mg) of calcium
- 64 mg of iron
- 27 mg of magnesium
- 75 mg of phosphorus
- 544 mg of potassium
- 6 mg of vitamin C
- 211 mg of vitamin B6
- 38 micrograms (mcg) of folate
8) Metabolism-Potatoes are a great source of vitamin B6. This plays a vital role in energy metabolism, by breaking down carbohydrates and proteins into glucose and amino acids. These smaller compounds are more easily utilized for energy within the body.
9) Skin-Collagen is the skin’s support system. Vitamin C works as an antioxidant to help prevent damage caused by the sun, pollution, and smoke. Vitamin C also helps collagen smooth wrinkles and improve overall skin texture.
10) Immunity-Research has found that vitamin C may help reduce the severity and duration of a cold. Potatoes are a good source of vitamin C.