Part of our diet - so much nutrition.
Mashed, roasted, or baked, the potato is a nutritional powerhouse, loaded with fiber and essential vitamins and minerals. Nonetheless, recent diet crazes have left some of us wondering if potatoes should remain a part of our diet. With so much nutrition misinformation out there, it’s time to set the record straight.
Consumers are often surprised to discover a medium-sized, 5.3 oz. potato has:
* 110 calories
* No fat or cholesterol
* More protein than most of the 20 most frequently consumed raw fruits and vegetables – 3 grams per medium potato
* 2 grams of fiber (with skin on), which may aid in weight loss, lower blood cholesterol levels and decrease risk of heart disease
* 45% Daily Value (DV) of vitamin C, or as much as you will find in a tomato. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that keeps the immune system healthy
* 18% DV of potassium. With skin on, potatoes contain more potassium per serving than the 20 most frequently consumed raw fruits and vegetables.
The health benefits of potato include the following:
Weight Gain: Potatoes have lots of carbohydrates and contain little proteins too. This makes it an ideal diet for those lean and thins who desperately want to put on weight. The vitamins like vitamin-C and B-complex also help in proper absorption of this carbohydrate.
Digestion: Since potatoes predominantly contain carbohydrates, they are easily to digested and facilitate digestion. This property makes them a good diet for patients, babies and those who cannot digest hard food but need energy. But you must remember that eating too much of potatoes regularly may cause acidity in the long run. Potatoes also contain considerable amount of fiber or roughage, more in raw potatoes and cold ones than boiled or hot ones.
Skin Care: Vitamin-C and B-complex and minerals like potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc are good for the skin.
Scurvy: The vitamin-C present in potatoes can help prevent this dreaded deficiency disease, caused due to lack of vitamin-C.
High Blood Pressure: Since high blood pressure is caused due to a number of reasons, including diabetes, tension, indigestion, nature of food and many such, different are the cures. Potato can be used to relieve High Blood Pressure due to tension, indigestion etc. due to abundance of vitamin-C and B in it, but should be avoided if it is due to diabetes. The fiber present in it is helpful in lowering cholesterol and improves functioning of insulin in the body, which helps to lowering of blood pressure, since there is a direct relation between the blood pressure and the glucose level in the blood and insulin regulates this glucose level.
Brain Function: Correct functioning of the brain depends largely on the glucose level, oxygen supply, some members of the vitamin-B complex and some hormones, amino acids and fatty acids like omega-3 fatty acids. Potatoes cater to almost all the needs mentioned above. They are high in carbohydrates and thus maintain good level of glucose in the blood which does not let brain fatigue creep in and keeps the brain active and alert. Next is oxygen which is carried to the brain by the haemoglobin in the blood and whose main constituent is iron. Potato contains iron too and thus aids to this function also. Next is the turn of vitamin-B complex. Here again, potato is rich in vitamin-B6 and contains traces of other members of this complex. In addition, it contains certain other elements like phosphorus and zinc which are good for brain too.
Heart Diseases: Apart from the vitamins (B-complex, C), minerals and roughage, potatoes also contain certain substances called Carotenoids which are beneficial for heart and other internal organs. But again, since it raises the glucose level in the blood and over intake may cause obesity, which in turn can put a lot of pressure on your heart; hence it is not recommended for obese or diabetic people.
Diarrhea: It is an excellent energy-rich diet for those suffering from diarrhea, since it is very easy to digest as well as contains mild roughage. But an over intake may cause diarrhea due to excess ingestion of starch.
Other Benefits and Cautions: Juice of potato is a good treatment for burns, bruises, sprains, skin problems, ulcers, effect of narcotics, cancer of prostrate and uterus and formation of cysts or tumors. On the other hand, some care also needs to be taken while eating potatoes. Green potatoes are poisonous, and so are potato leaves and fruits, as they contain alkaloids like solanine, chaconine and arsenic whose overdose may prove fatal. Moreover, the glycemic index (in simple words, the energy or sugar content) of potatoes is very high (above 80) and so obese, diabetic and those who are slimming down should avoid eating potatoes. If eaten, potatoes are better baked than raw or fried.