Potato is one of the common vegetables consumed by us almost regularly. It is a starchy, tuberous crop and a staple food in many parts of the world. After maize, wheat and rice potatoes are the world’s largest food crop as of 2014. Potato plant grows about 60 cm high depending on variety. Plants are herbaceous perennials and bear pink, red, blue, purple, white flowers with yellow stamens. They are mainly cross-pollinated by insects. Potato plants produce small green fruits after flowering which resemble green cherry tomatoes. Except for the tubers, the fruit contains the toxic alkaloid solanine which is unsuitable for human consumption. Potato plants adapt easily to diverse climatic conditions. Plants can grow as long as the climate is moist and cool enough to gather sufficient water from the soil for forming the starchy tubers. Potatoes are comparatively cheap as well as stuffed with a variety of nutrients.
Let Us Discuss Some of The Health Benefits of Eating Potatoes
1. Contains Antioxidants to Suppress the Growth of Cancer Cells – Potatoes contains a high number of compounds such as flavonoids, carotenoids, phenolic acids. These compounds by acting as antioxidants neutralize the potentially harmful molecules present in the body known as free radicles. Accumulation of free radicles can cause chronic illness including cancer, diabetes and heart diseases. The antioxidants present in potatoes can hinder the growth of colon and liver cancer cells.
2. Rich in Nutrients – Potatoes are a storehouse of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrate. The skin of the potato also contains a significant amount of nutrients. Therefore peeling them can reduce the nutritional value. We should cook potato in a way that its nutritional value remains unaffected.
3. Improves Digestion – Consuming potatoes can improve our digestive health as it contains the resistant starch. The resistant starch of potato is converted to the butyrate, the short-chained fatty acid. Research proves that butyrate can reduce colon inflammation, minimize the risk of colorectal cancer and strengthen colon.
4. Better Blood Sugar Control – The resistant starch in potato is not broken down and fully absorbed in the body. It goes to the large intestine and becomes a source of nutrients for the beneficial gut bacteria. Resistant starch has numerous health benefits such as decreasing insulin resistance, which helps in controlling blood sugar.
Therefore eating potatoes can provide immense benefit for our health. But we should make sure to wash them properly before cooking.