Potato is one of the most popular vegetables that is loved by almost all of us. Apart from being naturally gluten-free, potatoes are packed with many nutrition benefits that support our immune system and improve energy levels in our body. Potatoes have no gluten in them and are rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and fiber. In order to maintain heart health, potatoes can play a significant role – it helps in triggering the heart’s bear-hug squeeze that results in a heartbeat. Since potatoes are free from gluten, fat, sodium, and cholesterol, eating potatoes supports a healthy heart and improve our overall health.
- Regulates Blood Pressure
It is true, potatoes can play an important role in ensuring a healthy blood pressure (BP). No, this doesn’t mean you should start gobbling down oily French fries, potato chips, and junk food with potatoes in it. This will only do harm to your body and munching this unhealthy food can take a toll on your heart health. However, if prepared well you can enjoy potatoes and at the same time this humble round vegetable can help regulate your blood pressure. You can have baked potatoes, mashed version, and also add tossed potatoes in your salads. Potatoes also contain chlorogenic acid and anthocyanins, chemicals that help lower blood pressure.
- Has cancer preventive properties
According to research, sweet potatoes have anti-cancer and chemo-preventive agents. It also indicated that purple potatoes have high levels of anthocyanins which have great health benefits. The potatoes were also seen to decrease the numbers of adenoma in the body (a non-cancerous tumor or benign that may affect various organs). There are certain types of potatoes, like red and russet ones, these versions contain a high amount of flavonoid antioxidants that can help regulate cellular activity in our body and fight against free radicals that cause oxidative stress on your body. Not only these, but potatoes also contain a compound called quercetin, which has shown many anti-cancer and anti-tumor properties.
- Strengthens bones and prevents osteoporosis
Rich in iron, phosphorous, magnesium, calcium, and zinc, all these nutrients help the body to build and maintain our bone structure and strength. Iron and zinc play important roles in the production and maintenance of collagen. Both phosphorus and calcium are important for our bone structure, but it is also important to balance these two minerals for proper bone mineralization. Too much phosphorus and too little calcium in the body can result in bone loss and may even lead to osteoporosis. The National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) also recognized that potatoes and sweet potatoes are crucial to maintain bone health. Regular consumption of potatoes can help in preventing brittle bones, bone loss, and osteoporosis.
- Reduces Inflammation and arthritic pain
Potatoes are also very effective in reducing internal and external inflammation of the body. Since they are soft, get digested easily, and have a great amount of vitamin C, potassium, and vitamin B6, they can relieve inflammation in the intestines. Consumption of potatoes also proves good for those who have mouth ulcer problems. Hence, people who suffer from arthritis and gout (red, hot, swollen skin over the affected joint) can use potatoes for their anti-inflammatory benefits, but a fine balance must be struck as eating too many potatoes can lead to weight gain which can have a negative impact on these conditions.
- Prevents cardiovascular diseases
Many vegetables are effective for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) such as potatoes, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, and broccoli. Vitamins, dietary fibers, phytochemicals, and botanic proteins present in these vegetables have shown cardio-protective effects on our bodies. Nutrients and antioxidants present in potatoes make them anti-inflammatory, anti-platelet, regulates blood glucose, lipid profile, and blood pressure. Vitamin B6 present in potatoes plays a critical role in methylation, it is a chemical process during which methyl groups are transferred from one molecule to another. Methylation is also important for our cardiovascular health as it converts a dangerous molecule called homocysteine into other, benign substances. Since homocysteine can directly damage blood vessel walls, including potatoes in your diet can greatly help.
- Lower LDL Cholesterol in the Body
Potatoes contain lots of helpful phytochemicals, rich in potassium, vitamin C, B6, and have fewer calories than compared to many other foods. Potatoes are also rich in anthocyanins that help in the regulation of blood pressure. The soluble fiber present in potatoes binds with the LDL in the body and passes out through the digestive tract. This helps to remove bad cholesterol from the body. Potatoes keep your heart happy due to high fiber content as it is linked with clearing cholesterol from blood vessels. Vitamin C and B6 can reduce free radicals, and carotenoids maintain proper heart functioning. However, you need to be very careful when consuming potatoes, avoid oily fried, chips, and junk food as it can have a reversing effect and is bad for heart health.
- Boosts Brain Health
The alpha-lipoic acid, a coenzyme in potatoes can help to boost overall cognitive health. The lipoic and also has proved beneficial for Alzheimer’s patients as well. Rich in vitamins and minerals like zinc, phosphorous, and B complex, regularly eating potatoes as a part of a balanced meal can have a positive effect on the functioning of the brain. Potatoes have a high level of carbohydrates. No, carbs are not always bad. It helps in maintaining good levels of glucose in the blood, which is required for proper brain functioning. As per studies, a modest increase in glucose could help enhance learning abilities and memory. Doctors also say that vitamin B6 is also crucial for maintaining neurological health. Vitamin B6 produces brain chemicals, including serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, which may help in dealing with depression and stress.
- Aids in Digestion
The high content of carbohydrates in potatoes makes them easy to digest and facilitate digestion. Due to this quality potato is a good diet for babies and for those who cannot eat or digest hard food, but need energy at the same time. However, keeping a balance is important. Consuming too many potatoes and too frequently may cause acidity over time. One more important thing – the amount of fiber or roughage is more in raw potatoes than boiled ones. Fiber encourages peristaltic motion and increased secretion of gastric juices, which helps in preventing constipation and protects the body from various life-threatening conditions like colorectal cancer. Fiber is also linked with getting rid of bad cholesterol from the arteries and blood vessels, thus improving heart health.
- Contains Antioxidants
Potatoes are high in phytonutrients and antioxidants both of which are extremely important for the body. The color of the potato has a huge impact on the levels of antioxidants present in it. Choose colored potatoes over off-white ones to fully reap the antioxidant benefits of potatoes. Potatoes which are dark blue and red in color contain antioxidants known as anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are powerful antioxidants that help in slowing down the aging process – not only physically but also helps in keeping the brain sharp and maintains neurological health. Plus, they contain amazing anti-cancer properties and protect against type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Both the potato’s skin and flesh have antioxidants present in them. The antioxidants present in potatoes fight against free radicals that cause cell damage.
- May cure scurvy
Studies have shown that potatoes can be helpful in the treatment of Scurvy (a disease resulting from a lack of vitamin C). It also helps in managing symptoms of deficiency which includes weakness, sore arms and legs, and feeling of tiredness. Mashed potatoes or potato cream is greatly used in the treatment of infantile scurvy. Rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, regular consumption of potatoes may prevent or delay some type of cell damage in the body. Vitamin C can help prevent everything whether it is scurvy or the common cold, and potatoes are full of this important nutrient and give us about 45 percent of the recommended daily intake per medium baked potato.
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