Health Benefits of Potatoes
Latin Name: Solanum tuberosum.
The humble potato is probably the most popular and the most used vegetable the world over. Hence, it could rightly be called the King of vegetables.
The potato originated in South America and found its way to India via Europe. Potatoes can be grown in all types of soils.
There are about 100 edible varieties of potatoes. They vary in colour, size, shape, starch content and taste. Potatoes which do not have deep-set eyes are evenly round or oblong and big, the best. These, when boiled and cut, show a white inner content.
Potatoes can be eaten alone or mixed with other vegetables. They can be fried, made into chips, flakes, and can be used in a variety of other ways. Some ways these are prepared in India can be be seen in the recipe videos below.
Potatoes are consumed by all classes of people.
Kashmiri Dum Aloo Recipe (In Hindi With English Subtitles)
Potatoes Are Fattening - A Misconception
This needs to be cleared.
Most of the potatoes are consumed fried, in the form of chips and fries. This is fattening.
However, if consumed by baking, steaming or boiling, potatoes are not fattening. In fact, they are fat-free.
A serving of food with fat under 0.5 grams per serving is considered fat free.
Sindhi Recipe - Aloo Tuk ( Recipe With Potatoes)
Nutrition Facts For Potato
Potatoes are a very rich source of starch and fibre and have zero cholesterol.
Potatoes contain protein, carbohydrates, phosphorus, potassium, sulphur, copper and iron in low to high levels. They also contain low levels of vitamin A but a high level of vitamin C. They are rich in B Complex vitamins too
Removing the potato skin removes some nutrients. When potatoes are boiled, some vitamins and nutrients leak into the water. Therefore, if possible use this water in making vegetables.
Some recent studies have shown potato to contain Quercetin, the flavonoid which is an antioxidant which has cancer and heart disease protecting properties.
Nutrient Value Of Potatoes
Potatoes (Solanum tuberosum)
Nutritive value per 100 g.
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
Percentage of RDA
Health Promoting Compounds in Potatoes
The health-promoting compounds that a potato has are a number of phytonutrients which act as antioxidants. These are the flavonoids, carotenoids and caffeic acid and a protein patatin which has anti-free radical activity.
Scientists at the Institute for Food Research, UK have identified the blood lowering effect of potatoes being due to the kukoamines in potato.
The vitamin B6 content helps the brain, nervous system and heart.
Some Natural Remedies With Potatoes
Potatoes can be used for a number of health-related concerns. Some natural remedies with potatoes are given below:
Beri-Beri is caused due to the deficiency of thiamine in the body. It could also be precipitated by heavy drinking because alcohol reduces the body's capacity to absorb and store thiamine. In this disease, the nerves of the thigh become weak leading to inability to walk.
Take out potato juice by crushing and squeezing. Give 1 tsp of this juice 4 times a day every day. One can chew raw potato and gulp the juice so formed too.
This disease is due to vitamin C deficiency. It weakens the body and mind. There can be bleeding from gums too.
Raw potato benefits in relieving scurvy symptoms.
Apply crushed raw potato on the bruised area.
In Burns or Scalds.
1. Apply crushed raw potato on the burnt area.
2. On sunburnt skin apply potato juice. It cools and relieves the burning pain.
Potato benefits in symptoms of heartburn, acid reflux and gas. Consume potatoes which have been baked in hot sand or hot ash. Potato also benefits in relieving constipation and putrefaction of food which is the cause of gas and allied symptoms. Potatoes contain potassium which relieves acidity.
Apply a poultice of crushed raw potato on the area of the pain on the big toe.
Potato benefits in arthritis. Bake 4 potatoes and deskin them. sprinkle salt and black pepper on the potatoes and eat.
An effective folk remedy is to keep a small potato in each of the pant pockets. Potato benefits in rheumatism too, if eaten.
Apply a poultice of crushed raw potatoes on the back where the pain is.
In Renal Stone
Eating only potatoes benefits in such cases. Also, drink more water. The stone and sand are removed. The magnesium in potato removes the stone and prevents reformation of the stone.
In Kidney diseases
Eat potato in meals. The high potassium content in potato benefits by removing the extra salt from the kidney.
Potatoes do not have fat and thus can be eaten as much as one can. They can replace food.
Potatoes are not fattening and should be eaten boiled or baked in hot sand for reducing weight. Fried and spiced potatoes are the cause of obesity.
In high Blood Pressure
Potato benefits in normalising the increased blood pressure. Boil potatoes in saltwater with the skin on. Remove the skin after boiling. The magnesium in potatoes reduces high blood pressure.
Cut potatoes in small pieces. Boil them in one and half times the water taken by weight. When half of the water remains, cool the water only as much as is comfortable to wash the swollen area with this water. Also, give hot fomentation to reduce the swelling.
To Improve Complexion
Apply crushed raw potato on the face or skin and massage.
For Wrinkled Skin
In winter the skin of the hands gets dry and wrinkled because of the cold dry air. Crush raw potato and massage the hands with this to prevent and remove wrinkles.
In Skin Problems
Boils, itching and related skin problems are relieved by drinking raw potato juice.
Benefits The Heart
Eating potatoes regularly keeps the arteries soft and pliable and prevents them from hardening. This could one of the reasons for living long.
Contraindications to Potato Consumption.
People with feeble digestive system, those suffering from gas, diabetes should not eat potatoes.
Use potatoes sparingly in the following health conditions:
Fevers, constipation, itching or other skin diseases, blood disorders, indigestion and intestinal worms.
Potato is dry and hot by nature. It is digested easily and fast. Potato is a complete food in itself. It is cough and wind forming but is strength-giving, increases semen and increases body heat in a small measure.
Some potatoes have a greenish discolouration. This indicates the formation of the toxic alkaloid, solanine and that the potato stock is old. Solanine can cause headaches, diarrhoea, circulatory and respiratory problems.
Avoid cooking potatoes in iron or aluminium vessel.
Potatoes turn dark when cut and kept for sometime before cooking. To prevent this, cut potatoes and drop them in cold water to which some lemon juice has been added.
The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2011 Rajan Singh Jolly