Benefits and Uses of Potatoes

Potatoes are edible tubers, available worldwide and all year long. They are relatively cheap to grow, rich in nutrients, health benefits, and they can make a delicious treat.

The humble potato has fallen in popularity in recent years, due to the interest in low-carb foods.

However, the fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals it provides can help ward off disease and benefit human health.

Potatoes are one of the most popular vegetables, both in India and worldwide. All thanks to potatoes, we have our beloved French fries, which is one of the human race’s favorite dishes. Although this dish is not as healthy as it should be, many other dishes with potatoes as ingredients are much healthier. 

1. Contain Antioxidants

Potatoes are rich in compounds like flavonoids, carotenoids and phenolic acids.

These compounds act as antioxidants in the body by neutralizing potentially harmful molecules known as free radicals. When free radicals accumulate, they can increase the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

For example, a test-tube study found that the antioxidants present in potatoes may suppress the growth of liver and colon cancer cells.

2. Improve Digestive Health

The resistant starch in potatoes may also improve digestive health.

When resistant starch reaches the large intestine, it becomes food for beneficial gut bacteria. These bacteria digest it and turn it into short-chain fatty acids.

Resistant starch from potatoes is mostly converted into the short-chain fatty acid butyrate — the preferred food source for gut bacteria.

3. Gluten-Free

The gluten-free diet is one of the most popular diets worldwide. It involves eliminating gluten, which is a family of proteins found in grains like spelt, wheat, barley and rye.

Most people do not experience adverse symptoms from consuming gluten.

However, people with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity can experience severe discomfort when consuming foods that contain gluten. Symptoms include sharp stomach pain, diarrhea, constipation, bloating and skin rashes.

4. Packed with Nutrients

The nutritional content of potatoes can vary depending on the variety and how they are prepared. For example, frying potatoes adds more calories and fat than baking them.

It’s also important to note the skin of the potatoes contains a great amount of the vitamins and minerals. Peeling potatoes can significantly reduce their nutritional content

5. Improve Blood Sugar

Potatoes contain a special type of starch known as resistant starch.

This starch is not broken down and fully absorbed by the body. Instead, it reaches the large intestine where it becomes a source of nutrients for the beneficial bacteria in your gut.

Research has linked resistant starch to many health benefits, including reducing insulin resistance, which, in turn, improves blood sugar control.

Potatoes are high in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber and resistant starch.

However, fried potatoes may also come with some potential negative effects, including weight gain, especially when consumed in large amounts.

Ultimately, portion size and cooking methods have a major influence on the health effects of potatoes.

When enjoyed in moderation and prepared in a healthy way, potatoes can be a nutritious addition to your diet.

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