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Properties and benefits of potato

January 15, 2021
Properties and benefits of potato

There was a time when, like other foods, the potato had a bad reputation. Being a vegetable high in carbohydrates, many preferred to avoid it and even eliminate it completely from their diet. Fortunately, the potato has regained the place it deserves . Today it is known that this tuber not only provides a large amount of nutrients in our diet, but also offers excellent benefits and healthy properties1.

Potato properties: what are the benefits of its consumption?

The potato , regardless of the variety, has beneficial properties for our health . These are some of the most important:

  • Rich in essential vitamins and minerals
  • Rich in antioxidant compounds (flavonoids, carotenoids, phenolic acids)
  • Rich in dietary fiber
  • Free of cholesterol, fat and gluten
  • Easy to digest
  • Very satiating

As reported by different studies and investigations, these properties make the consumption of potatoes exhibit a wide range of medicinal benefits, ranging from the improvement of digestive processes to the prevention of cancer.

See below: Potato (Potato) – Origin, Types, Characteristics, Contraindications

Note : The health benefits listed below are associated with the consumption of conventionally cooked or roasted potatoes, and not with the consumption of other popular preparations, for example high sodium and saturated fat mashed potatoes or French fries.

1. Helps regulate blood pressure

Potatoes appear to help lower blood pressure for a number of reasons. For starters, they are a good source of dietary fiber , a nutrient that has been linked to a greater reduction in blood cholesterol levels, better insulin function, and a better balance in blood pressure.2 3.

The potato is also a good source of potassium . All potatoes are rich in potassium; it does not matter if they are of the yellow , red, white or Creole variety . As indicated by numerous official sources, potassium is a mineral that helps control blood pressure4.

The potato can have even more potassium than a banana. Much of this mineral is found in the skin.

Potassium also helps fight hypertension through its effect as a vasodilator (blood vessel widener).

On the other hand, potatoes have been found to contain a type of chemical called kukoamines , which have been associated with a decrease in blood pressure5.

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2. Supports healthy digestive function

Not only is it easy to digest, but it also makes it easier to digest other foods. Its considerable contribution of dietary fiber helps stimulate peristaltic movement and increases the secretion of gastric juices, avoiding problems such as indigestion and constipation. This also translates to a lower risk of serious diseases like colorectal cancer.

Potatoes are highly recommended for babies and people who cannot digest hard foods or who are sick. It is also considered a good alternative to relieve diarrhea; Eating potatoes during an episode of diarrhea not only helps increase energy levels, but also facilitates digestion and provides dietary fiber to improve bowel function.

3. Protects and promotes the healthy appearance of the skin

Thanks to its content of vitamin C, B complex vitamins, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc, the potato is a good ally to take care of the skin. Specifically, raw mashed potato or potato juice are excellent ingredients for making homemade face masks , as they help heal pimples, fade spots and wrinkles, improve texture, and heal burns, bruises, sprains, ulcers, or other injuries. For its part, the application of raw potato cut into thin slices on the skin is very effective to reduce puffiness and reduce dark circles6.

4. Helps protect bone health

The potato contains several nutrients that are essential for the good health of our bones. Minerals such as iron, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium and zinc are involved in building bone structure and help maintain its strength. Specifically, iron and zinc are crucial in the production and maturation of collagen.7

5. Promotes proper brain function

Healthy brain function is highly dependent on blood glucose level, adequate oxygen supply, intake of various components of the B complex, and certain hormones, amino acids, and fatty acids, such as omega-3s, among other factors. . Potatoes provide almost all of the needs mentioned above. They are high in carbohydrates ( blood glucose levels ), provide iron ( production of hemoglobin that carries oxygen to the brain ), potassium ( vasodilatory properties that have been linked to stimulating brain function ), as well as other essential nutrients ( vitamin B6, phosphorus, vitamin C).

The vitamin B6 , an abundant nutrient potato, helps create brain chemicals as important as serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline. This means that including it in our diet can be useful to combat depression, stress and even attention deficit hyperactivity disorder8.

6. Has anti-inflammatory power

The nutrients and antioxidant compounds in the potato have been found to be effective in reducing inflammation in the body, both internally and externally. 9 . For example, drinking the water you get from boiling potatoes is a remedy traditionally used torelieve pain and inflammation caused by rheumatism; apparently this effect is due to its calcium and magnesium content. On the other hand, the vitamin C, potassium and vitamin B6 present in this tuber have been linked to the relief of inflammation in the intestines and digestive system.

Some people believe that potatoes and other members of the nightshade family, such as eggplant, tomato, and bell peppers, can trigger arthritis flare-ups. According to the American Arthritis Foundation, the scientific evidence to support this hypothesis is limited. Several studies suggest that these vegetables can actually help reduce arthritis symptoms10 11.

7. Has anticancer power

Some researchers have suggested that the potato has anticancer potential and that its consumption could help prevent and treat cancer12 13 .  Certain types of potatoes, particularly red potatoes, contain high levels of flavonoid antioxidants and vitamin A, such as zeaxanthin and carotenes. These compounds are known to protect the body against many types of cancer (prostate, uterus). A study published by the United States Department of Agriculture reported that potatoes also containquercetin, a nutrient that has shownexcellent antioxidant, anti-cancer, and anti-tumor properties.

Recent research, conducted in 2017 and published by the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, found that consuming purple potatoes could reduce the risk of colon cancer. The researchers observed that the purple potato is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce the levels of interleukin-6 or IL-6, a protein associated with the growth of cancer cells within the colon. Although the study was carried out in pigs and has not yet been replicated in humans, it is believed that the results would be similar, since the digestive system of the pig is very similar to that of man14.

8. Raises physical performance and promotes weight gain

This is an excellent food for high performance athletes , not only because it serves as a source of energy but also because it helps maintain a good electrolyte balance. The sodium and potassium present in potato skins are two important electrolytes that athletes lose through sweat.

Likewise, the potato promotes weight gain. People who are very thin or who need to increase their energy stores can incorporate it as one of the staples in their diet. It should be noted that vitamin C and the B complex vitamins present in this tuber improve the absorption of other carbohydrates in the body.

Warning : Obese people, who are trying to lose weight or who have diabetes, should keep a moderate consumption of potatoes. This food usually has a high glycemic index.

It may interest you: Does the Potato Get Fat or Slim? Myth vs Reality [Solved]

9. Strengthens the activity of the immune system

Another of the most important medicinal properties of the potato is its ability to boost our immunity . Mainly responsible for this benefit is vitamin C, an essential nutrient that helps prevent numerous health conditions, from the flu and the common cold, to scurvy (vitamin C deficiency). One medium potato provides approximately 45% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C15 16.

10. Supports good cardiovascular health

Its fiber content favors the elimination of cholesterol from the blood vessels , the contribution of vitamins C and B6 helps fight the action of free radicals , while the carotenoid compounds and potassium help maintain the proper functioning of the heart17.

Quick answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Are all the nutrients in potatoes in the skin?

No. The idea that all nutrients are found in the skin is a myth. Although the skin contains about half of the dietary fiber, the majority of the nutrients (> 50%) are found within the potato.

  • The only nutrient that is significantly lost when the skin is removed is fiber. One medium potato (5.2 oz) contains 2 grams of fiber with the skin and 1 gram of fiber without the skin.
  • For example, potassium and vitamin C are predominantly found in potato meat. A medium potato (5.2 oz) with the skin contains 620 mg of potassium and 27 mg of vitamin C. By removing the skin we would be subtracting approximately 150 mg of potassium and 4.5 mg of vitamin C.

What has more health properties: potato or sweet potato?

Both potatoes and sweet potatoes are important sources of vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and other compounds essential for good health. The contribution of many of the nutrients is quite similar , as is their content of carbohydrates, proteins and fats18 19.

Now, depending on your particular goal, one may be more beneficial than the other. For example, potatoes are rich in vitamin C, but sweet potatoes do not provide large amounts of this vitamin. Likewise, sweet potatoes are incredibly rich in vitamin A, a nutrient that is not very abundant in potatoes.

Recommended article: Sweet Potato (Sweet Potato, Sweet Potato) – Properties, Benefits, Characteristics, Origin, Types 

What medicinal uses does raw potato have?

The potato can have uses beyond the kitchen. Many are unaware that raw potato can be used as a home remedy to alleviate or prevent various symptoms and health problems. These are some of the most common uses:

  • Drinking raw potato juice can help treat stomach discomfort (indigestion, ulcers, gastritis), lower cholesterol levels, prevent inflammatory processes and combat water retention in the body (edema).
  • Applying raw potato juice, poultices or slices directly to the skin helps soothe arthritis symptoms and heal infections, boils, burns, etc.
  • The homemade masks grated raw potato are excellent beauty treatment. The natural juice of the tuber has properties that serve to lighten the skin tone, tone, nourish, fight excess oil, hide pores and reduce the symptoms of acne and psoriasis.
  • Applying thin slices of raw potato to the eyes is a very popular remedy for getting rid of puffy or tired eyes.

Does eating raw potato have more health benefits?

Different researches have talked about the consumption of raw potato and how it can be related to various health benefits. While there is much truth to this, it is important to take into account some considerations related to its taste, safety and nutritional value20 . Let’s look at some of the most important differences between raw potato and cooked potato …

In favor:

  • Raw potato is high in resistant starch , which has been linked to better blood sugar control, increased insulin sensitivity, a greater feeling of fullness, and better digestive health.
  • When raw, potatoes are lower in calories and carbohydrates , and contain twice as much vitamin C as cooked potatoes.

Against:

  • Raw potatoes generally have a bitter taste and starchy texture that is unattractive to the vast majority. The cooking process triggers a chemical reaction that produces certain compounds and increases palatability.
  • In its natural form, the potato contains certain antinutrients that can affect the digestion and absorption of nutrients. Cooking potatoes is an effective strategy to reduce antinutrient content.
  • Raw potatoes contain glycoalkaloids , which are formed through exposure to sunlight. When consumed in large quantities, these compounds can be toxic to health. Cooking, peeling, and storing potatoes properly can help minimize this risk.
  • Consuming too much resistant starch like that found in raw potato can cause digestive problems, such as an upset stomach, gas, and bloating.

Although consuming raw potatoes can have healthy properties in certain cases, it is always recommended to do so in moderation. When it comes to a regular diet, cooked potato is a better option .

The potato prevents the formation of stones in the kidneys: yes or no?

There is some debate on the subject. On the one hand, the potato is known to be rich in magnesium , a mineral that inhibits the accumulation of calcium deposits (calcification) in the kidney and other tissues.21 22 . Some evidence indicates that its consumptionmay be beneficial to prevent the formation of kidney stones23.

However, many sources have included potato, especially baked potato in the skin, in the list of foods with the highest content of oxalates , hence people prone to kidney stones should eat it in moderation24 . In addition, oxalate is known to be an end product of the metabolism of vitamin C, an abundant nutrient in potatoes. Large doses of vitamin C can increase the amount of oxalate in the urine, and this in turn increases the risk of kidney stone formation25 26.

To stay on the safe side, it is advisable to consume potatoes in moderation, always as part of a healthy and balanced diet.

Does the dried or dehydrated potato retain the nutritional properties?

The dried or dehydrated potato is an option that allows you to prepare different recipes in a very short time; hence its growing popularity. Although the instant potato preserves part of the nutritional value of the tuber, the truth is that it is not as nutritious as the natural potato. Not only does it lose vitamins, minerals and fiber, but it also often contains additives (sodium) and preservatives. Using fresh food will always be the healthiest option.

References:

  1. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/potatoes-are-actually-a-healthy-food–without-butter-and-other-fixings/2018/11/09/3156fd76-d96d-11e8-a10f-b51546b10756_story.html?noredirect=on
  2. https://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/news/20050304/high-fiber-diet-may-fight-high-blood-pressure#1
  3. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/69/1/30/4694117
  4. https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/potassium-lowers-blood-pressure
  5. https://www.cabi.org/nutrition/news/14477
  6. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0899900701006608?via%3Dihub
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3496253/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4772032/
  9. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09540100500064320
  10. https://www.arthritis.org/
  11. https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/141/1/108/4630555#xref-fn-4-1
  12. https://agresearchmag.ars.usda.gov/2007/sep/potato/
  13. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf0726583
  14. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0955286316303795
  15. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/155758.php
  16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5661393/
  17. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/280579.php
  18. https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2546/2
  19. https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2666/2
  20. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/raw-potatoes#bottom-line
  21. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17509313
  22. https://www.aafp.org/afp/2011/1201/p1234.html
  23. https://www.lifeextension.com/Protocols/Kidney-Urinary/Kidney-Stones/Page-10
  24. https://www.webmd.com/kidney-stones/kidney-stones-food-causes#1
  25. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/11066-kidney-stones-oxalate-controlled-diet
  26. https://kidneystones.uchicago.edu/how-to-eat-a-low-oxalate-diet/

My name is Louise Hammond, and I am the creator of this website, a place to find information about tubers, bulbs and medicinal roots. In Dreamsship.com I show the properties, benefits, characteristics, photos and images, ways of growing and how to make delicious meals from starchy vegetables.