Potato, a root vegetable, comes from the family Solanaceae and is also called Solanum tuberosum. It is cheap, easy to grow, and filled with many nutrients and goes well with most vegetables. Potatoes are available in every kitchen throughout the world. It can be eaten baked, boiled, or fried due to which potatoes are the favorite of many people. There are more than 200 potato varieties across the globe. Potato is a good source of fiber and contains nutrients like Vitamin C, B-complex, potassium, pantothenic acid, plus a bit of iron and calcium. They are not only delicious but also have many health benefits (1). Depending on the way you prepare, potato may lead to weight gain. Consume enough potatoes to enjoy these benefits.
Nutritional value per 100 g
|Vitamin C||19.7 mg|
|Thiamin (B1)||0.08 mg|
|Riboflavin (B2)||0.03 mg|
|Niacin (B3)||1.05 mg|
|Pantothenic acid (B5)||0.30 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.30 mg|
|Folate (B9)||16 μg|
|Vitamin A||2 IU|
|Vitamin E||0.01 mg|
|Vitamin K1||1.9 μg|
|Saturated fatty acids||0.03 g|
|Monounsaturated fatty acids||0.00 g|
|Polyunsaturated fatty acids||0.04 g|
Types of Potatoes
- Russet Potatoes
- Red Potatoes
- Yellow Potatoes
- White Potatoes
- Purple Potatoes
- Fingerling Potatoes
- Petite Potatoes
Here are a few Health Benefits of Potatoes:
1. Skin Care
Potatoes contain potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, vitamin C and B-complex, which are good for the skin (2). The pulp extracted from raw potatoes can be blended with honey, which works great in the skin. It helps to remove pimples and spots on the skin. A potato facial mask treats acne, blemishes, and dark spots. Potato juice helps to tighten your skin and also reduces wrinkles and premature aging. Potato peels are rich in antioxidants that help to exfoliate the skin. Additionally, it removes dead skin cells and rejuvenates your skin. Apply the pulp on the burns to get quick relief and faster healing. Similarly, it provides a cooling sensation on the burnt area and repairs damaged skin. Mashed potato aids in softening rough skin, especially around the elbows.
2. Regulates Blood Pressure
Reducing sodium intake and increasing potassium intake is essential for maintaining blood pressure. Potassium encourages the widening of the blood vessels. Potato contains calcium, potassium, and magnesium that help to reduce blood pressure naturally. One average-sized baked potato contains 535 mg of potassium and 17.3 mg of sodium. High potassium levels in the blood cause your kidney to excrete more water and salt. The deficiency of potassium may retain sodium in our body that raises blood pressure. If you need to get rid of excess sodium and control blood pressure, then go for baked potatoes. However, refrain from eating potato chips, French fries, and all processed junk as they might prompt heart problems.
3. Improves Bone Health
Potatoes contain calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, and zinc that helps to build the bone structure and maintain bone strength (3). Iron and zinc are vital for the production of collagen in the body. Calcium and phosphorus are essential in bone structure. However, balancing both minerals is important for proper bone mineralization. High levels of phosphorus and low levels of calcium result in bone loss and osteoporosis.
4. Aids Heart Health
Potato is high in fiber that helps to lower excess cholesterol levels in the blood (4). It also contains vitamin C and B6, potassium all are good for the heart (5). Potatoes don’t contain cholesterol; however, depending on the cooking process like deep frying, cholesterol is added. Carotenoids (lutein and zeaxanthin) are good for the heart and functioning of internal organs (6). Too much consumption of potato may cause obesity as it raises glucose levels in the blood. So consume potatoes in a limit to have better heart health.
5. Enhances Digestion
The fiber in potato helps to prevent constipation. This root vegetable enhances the bowel movement, which keeps your digestive tract healthy. People who face difficulty in digesting foods can consume potatoes. The amount of fiber is more in raw potatoes than boiled ones. Fiber supports the increased secretion of gastric juices that help to ease digestion and prevent constipation. Potatoes may help to recover from diarrhea as it is high in potassium that is lost during diarrhea.
6. Betters Brain Health
Potatoes positively affect the brain’s function as it has some vitamins and minerals that help deliver oxygen to the brain. Also, it contains an enzyme alpha-lipoic acid that helps to boost overall cognitive health. Vitamin B6 present in potatoes that helps particularly to maintain neurological health. Brain functioning depends on oxygen supply, glucose level, and hormones like amino acids and fatty acids. Vitamin B6 in potatoes is crucial for maintaining neurological health. Potassium has vasodilating properties that are connected to the brain stimulation function due to the increased blood flow to it. Iron is essential to maintain the hemoglobin level in the blood. Hemoglobin carries the oxygen to various body parts, and so the brain receives the oxygen.
7. Maintains Hair Health
Iron, zinc, niacin, vitamin B, and C present in potatoes help nourish the hair follicles and promote hair growth (7). When applied on the hair, potato juice absorbs sebum and sweat that helps cleanse the scalp, keeping it clean. The antioxidants in potato keep your scalp free from infections like dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis. Potato juice also acts as a conditioner when it is blended with egg and honey. It also provides shine and glow to your hair by closing the cuticles.
8. Boosts Immunity
Potato skin is a natural source of flavonoids. It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that aid in protecting your body from infections (8). Quercetin is a compound present in potato skin that helps to stimulate the immune system (9). It also has antiviral properties that may prevent histamine release. Studies show that quercetin is very effective for treating allergic rhinitis, bronchial asthma, and peanut-induced anaphylactic reactions.
- Instead of frying potatoes, bake or boil them as 75% vitamin C is lost during frying.
- Avoid high-fat toppings such as sour cream or butter.
- Don’t peel the potatoes before cooking them as most of the nutrients will be lost (10).
Potato - a popular root vegetable - cheap, easy to grow, and full of many nutrients. Low in calories compared to other vegetables. It is better to eat it boiled than fried. There are more than 200 potato varieties worldwide. People with difficulty in digesting food can eat potatoes daily. Applying potato juice on the scalp and bathing will make the hair shiny and soft. Also, applying potato juice removes dead cells on the face and naturally heals wrinkles.