Potatoes facts and health benefits

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Potatoes facts and health benefits

Potatoes Quick Facts
Name: Potatoes
Scientific Name: Solanum tuberosum
Origin Andean regions of Peru and Bolivia
Colors White, brown, yellowish brown, pink, red, purple
Shapes Globose, oblate or elliptic; 3–10 cm in diameter; fleshy; and with axillary buds (eyes) and numerous lenticels
Flesh colors Yellow or white
Calories 134 Kcal./cup
Major nutrients Vitamin B6 (32.31%)
Copper (29.00%)
Carbohydrate (24.02%)
Vitamin B5 (15.88%)
Vitamin B3 (12.79%)
Health benefits Cancer Prevention, Heart Health, Inflammation, High Blood Pressure, Kidney Stones,Digestion, Scurvy, Diarrhea, Satiety and Weight Management,Skin Care, Rheumatism, Brain Function, Weight Gain
More facts about Potatoes
The potato is a tuber—a short, thick, underground stem with stored starches and sugars of the potato plant. It was given its botanical name, Solanum tuberosum, in 1596 by the Swiss botanist Gaspard Bauhin, and belongs to the Solanaceae family, the nightshades, which also include eggplant, peppers, and the tomato. Potatoes grow best in cool-temperate climates although they are originally from South America. Thousands of varieties exist and many species and have been grown in Peru and Bolivia for over 8000 years. They were brought over by the Spanish in the late 1500s to Europe although they didn’t become popular until the 1800s. The name potato is derived from the American Indian word “Batata”, was introduced to Europeans be Spanish conquerors during the late 16th Century. Potato is herbaceous perennials have become the preference crop within a most of the nations of the world which makes them the world’s fourth biggest food crop right after rice, wheat and maize. Common Potato, Irish Potato, European Potato, Potato, Spud, White Potato are some of the common names of Potatoes.


Potato is a starchy root vegetable of Central American origin. This humble tuber is one of the most widely grown root-crops and one of the cheapest staple food ingredients consumed all-over the world. It is an erect or sprawling, herbaceous perennials herb sized 30–100 cm tall found growing in Cool climate and bears many tubers underground. It grows well in wide range of soils but not waterlogged soils. It grows best in loose, friable soil and well-drained mineral or organic soils with medium loam or light or medium silty textures. Deep soils with good aeration and permeability give good growth and high tuber yields. They have robust angular, branched and winged stem, glabrous or sparsely pubescent with simple and glandular hairs. Leaves are alternate, interruptedly odd-pinnate, with 6–8 pairs of leaflets and smaller, unequal interstitial leaflets; petiole 2.5–5 cm long, leaflet blade ovate or oblong, 2–10 cm by 1–6 cm, dark green, pinnatinerved, mostly sparingly pilose. Plant bear white, pink, red, blue, or purple flowers with yellow stamens. In general, the tubers of varieties with white flowers have white skins, while those of varieties with colored flowers tend to have pinkish skins.


Potatoes are a popular high-carb food that is consumed worldwide. Potatoes are underground tubers that grow on the roots of a plant called Solanum tuberosum. Potatoes are tubers. A tuber is a fleshy, food-storing swelling at the tip of an underground stem, also called a stolon. Each plant produces multiple tubers that can be globose, oblate or elliptic; 3–10 cm in diameter; fleshy; and with axillary buds (eyes) and numerous lenticels and usually come in white, brown, yellowish brown, pink, red, purple or purplish blue depending up on the variety. Varieties with white flowers have white skins, while those varieties with colored flowers tend to have pinkish skin. Potatoes have thin, smooth or rough, brown, red or yellow colored skin and yellow or white colored flesh. If tubers are exposed to light they will turn greenery to sprout. It has neutral starchy flavor and delightful taste which is suitable for almost any delicacies. Potatoes are a staple part of many traditional British dishes, as well as wide-ranging international cuisine.


Potato is considered to have originated from Andean regions of Peru and Bolivia. The potato was introduced into Spain from South America in the latter half of the sixteenth century. From Spain, the potato was introduced to neighboring countries and within 100 years was being grown fairly extensively in many regions of Europe. Distribution beyond Europe soon occurred with the introduction into India in the seventeenth century and China and Japan in the eighteenth century. Today different varieties of potatoes are grown all over the world and are consumed as a staple food globally.

Polyphenolic Compounds of Potato

  1. Glykoalkaloids

Potatoes contain glycoalkaloids (GA), a class of secondary metabolites that cause adverse symptoms at high levels but also exhibit beneficial effects, including anticancer activity. GAs are valued for their role as plant defense compounds, providing protection against various pathogens and herbivores, but considered as antinutrients in the human diet. As a result, GA content is strictly monitored in commercial potatoes.

  1. Proteins and Peptides

Potato proteins are divided into three main fractions, namely patatin, protease inhibitors, and high-molecular-weight proteins. Together these fractions have been reported to possess several beneficial characteristics, such as high antioxidant activity and the ability to modulate lipid metabolism. Along with these health-promoting properties, patatin also exhibits foaming and emulsifying abilities.

Patatin, a glycoprotein, is present as a dimer in native form. However, once denatured, it breaks down into units consisting of a single polypeptide with up to two carbohydrate chains, resulting in isoforms with molecular weights (MWs) ranging from 40 to 45 kDa. The patatin group consists of a number of glycoprotein isoforms that differ between potato cultivars as well as in physiological state.

  1. Other Bioactivities

Potatoes are a good source of carotenoids, which are lipophilic compounds synthesized in plastids from isoprenoids. Iwanzik et al. (1983), in one of the most complete studies, compared potatoes with various degrees of yellow intensity, finding a range of total carotenoids from 0.27 to 3.29 μg/g fw. They listed lutein, neoxanthin, violaxanthin, and lutein-5,6 epoxide as the major components and found a strong correlation between carotenoid concentration and color imetric measurements  of yellowness. Potato cultivars with white flesh contained less carotenoid as compared to cultivars with yellow or orange flesh. Total carotenoid content was reported in the range 50–350 μg/100 g fw and 800–2000 μg/100 g fw, respectively, in white- and yellow-fleshed potato cultivars. Researchers have been able to increase carotenoids content considerably using transgenic approaches. Tuber carotenoids content was increased from 5.6 to 35 μg/g dw by overexpressing a bacterial phytoene synthase.

Nutritive value

Apart from their neutral starchy flavor and delightful taste potato is a good source of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Consuming 156 gram of potatoes offers 0.42 mg of Vitamin B6, 0.261 mg of Copper, 31.22 g of Carbohydrate, 0.794 mg of Vitamin B5, 2.047 mg of Vitamin B3 and 11.5 mg of Vitamin C. Moreover many Amino acids like 0.042 g of Tryptophan, 0.097 g of Threonine, 0.109 g of Isoleucine, 0.161 g of Leucine and 0.162 g of Lysine are also found in 156 gram of potatoes.

Health benefits of Potatoes

Potatoes are one of the most common and important food sources on the planet, and they contain a wealth of health benefits that make them all the more essential as a staple dietary item for much of the world’s population. These health benefits include Cancer Prevention, Heart Health, Inflammation, High Blood Pressure, Kidney Stones, Digestion, Scurvy, Diarrhea, Satiety and Weight Management, Skin Care, Rheumatism, Brain Function and Weight Gain.

1. Cancer Prevention

Potatoes, mainly red and russet potatoes, consist of high levels of flavonoid antioxidants and vitamin A like zeaxanthin and carotenes, which help to protect you against several types of cancer. Research at the Agricultural Research service has shown that potatoes contain a compound called quercetin, which has been proven to have anti-cancer and anti-tumor properties. Finally, the high levels of vitamin A and C both have antioxidant qualities that can protect your body from the devastating effects of cancer.(1)

2. Heart Health

Hypertension is one of the harmful condition considered by abnormally high blood pressure, is one of the main risk factors for heart disease. Potatoes contain a number of minerals and plant compounds that may help to lower blood pressure. The high potassium content of potatoes is mainly notable.

Several observational researches and randomized controlled trials have related high potassium intake with reduced risk of hypertension and heart disease .Other substances that may promote lower blood pressure include chlorogenic acid and kukoamines.(2),(3),(4), (5), (6)

3. Inflammation

Potatoes are found effective in reducing inflammation, both internal and external. Since it is soft, easily digested and has a lot of vitamin-C, potassium and vitamin-B6, it can help to relieve any kinds of inflammation of the intestines and the digestive system. It is also a good dietary element for those who have mouth ulcers. Thus, people suffering from arthritis and gout may use potatoes for their anti-inflammatory impact, but again, since it can add to weight gain, which worsens these conditions, and is commonly eaten with meat and other rich foods that make gout worse, a fine balance must be struck.(7)

4. High Blood Pressure

Hypertension or high blood pressure take place due to diabetes, tension, indigestion, nutrient balance, food content and many others reasons and different treatments are required. Potatoes can alleviate multiple possible causes; potatoes can be used to relieve high blood pressure due to tension. Potassium found in potatoes (46% of daily requirement per serving) lowers blood pressure, since potassium functions as a vasodilator. (8), (9)

5. Kidney Stones

Kidney Stones, which are also known as Renal Calculi, are caused mainly due to increased levels of uric acid in the blood. In this situation foods high in protein must be avoided, mainly animal proteins like meat, milk, turkey, shrimp, eggs, fish as well as spinach, raw plantain, black grams and certain beans, that severely increases the level of uric acid in the blood. Apart from that iron and calcium also contribute to forming the stones. They wouldn’t fit in as a preventative measure of kidney stones, but they contain magnesium, which prevents the gathering or deposition of calcium (calcification) in the kidney and other tissues, thus proving beneficial for treatment of renal calculi.(10)

6. Digestion

Since potatoes mainly consist of carbohydrates, they are easy to digest and facilitate digestion. Due to this feature potato is a good diet for babies as well as for those who cannot digest hard food, but need energy. However, keep in mind consuming too many potatoes regularly may cause acidity over time. Potatoes contain considerable amount of fiber or roughage, more in raw potatoes and cold ones than boiled or hot ones. Fiber helps to encourages peristaltic motion and increased secretion of gastric juices, which eases digestion and prevents constipation and protects the body from more serious conditions like colorectal cancer. Fiber is also associated with scraping cholesterol out of the arteries and blood vessels, thus increasing heart health.(11)

7. Scurvy

Potatoes consist of sufficient amount of vitamin C which is helpful to cure all the disease caused due to deficiency of vitamin C. It is considered beneficial for frequent viral infection, cracked lip corners and spongy and bleeding gums. Potatoes consist of 11.5 mg of vitamin C which is 12.78% of the daily recommended value. Including potatoes in your diet is one of the best options to live healthy life.(12)

8. Diarrhea

Potatoes are an excellent component of an energy-rich diet for those suffering from diarrhea, since it is very easy to digest and consists of mild roughage. However, eating too many potatoes can cause diarrhea due to the excessive ingestion of starch.(13)

9. Satiety and Weight Management

Satiety is actually the feeling of fullness and loss of appetite which occurs after eating. Foods that are satiating may help to control weight, extending the feeling of fullness after meals and decreasing food and energy intake.

Comparative to other carbohydrate-rich foods, potatoes seem to be mainly satiating. Research compared the satiety index of 40 common foods and found potatoes to be the most satiating of all.

Apart from that research carried on 11 men showed that eating boiled potatoes, as a side dish with pork steak, led to less calorie intake during the meal when compared to pasta or white rice. However, studies indicate that a potato protein, known as proteinase inhibitor 2 (PI2), may act to suppress appetite.

Even though PI2 may suppress appetite when taken in its pure form, it is unclear whether it has any effect in the trace amounts present in potatoes.(14), (15), (16), (17), (18)

10. Skin Care

Minerals like potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc as well as vitamin-C and B-complex are wonderful for the skin. Similarly pulp gained from crushed raw potatoes, mixed with honey, can work well in skin and face packs. It also helps to cure pimples and spots on the skin. This pulp, if applied outwardly on burns, offers quick relief and faster healing. Smashed potatoes, and even water in which potatoes have been washed, are very good for softening and cleaning skin, particularly around the elbows, and the back of the hands.(19)

11. Rheumatism

Potatoes consists minerals like calcium and magnesium which help to provide relief from rheumatism. Water obtained from boiling potatoes can relieve the pain and inflammation of rheumatism. However, because of high starch and carbohydrate content, it tends to increase body weight which may have adverse effects on rheumatic people. It is a fine balance, so you must apply it as a helpful approach without consuming the potato itself.(20)

12. Brain Function

Proper functioning of the brain depends largely on the glucose level, oxygen supply, various components of the vitamin-B complex and certain hormones, amino acids and fatty acids like omega-3. Potatoes cater to almost all the needs mentioned above. They are high in carbohydrates, and thus maintain good levels of glucose in the blood. This prevents the brain from letting fatigue creep in and it keeps your cognitive activity and performance high. Brain needs oxygen that is transported to the brain by the hemoglobin in the blood; its main constituent is iron. Potatoes contain iron as well. Therefore, potatoes help deliver oxygen to the brain as well. There are a wide variety of vitamins and minerals in potatoes that completely affect the function of the brain, including phosphorus, zinc, and the B complex vitamins. The vasodilating features of potassium have been connected to stimulation of brain function due to increased blood flow to that essential organ.

13. Weight Gain

Potatoes consist of considerable amount of carbohydrates and contain very little protein. It an ideal diet for those excessively lean or thin people who desperately wish to put on weight. The vitamin content includes vitamin-C and B-complex, which help in proper absorption of carbohydrates. That is one of the reasons that potatoes make up a large part of the diet of sumo wrestlers, as well as many other athletes who need large energy reserves to burn off in order to compete! (21)

How to Eat

  • It can be eaten cooked and sometimes raw.
  • It can be boiled, steamed, microwaved, baked, fried, grilled, mashed and added to soups, stews, curries, pies, vegetable salads, dumplings, pancakes (‘rosti’) and goes well with all sorts of meat and seafood.
  • One common dish is mashed potato where boiled, peeled potato is mashed with butter, margarine, milk or yoghurt.
  • Potato is also consumed as fresh fries, pomes fries, wedges, potato bread (such as boxty) and hash browns.
  • Potato is thinly sliced and made into chips and crisps by baking or deep frying for snack appetizer or as a side dish.
  • Potatoes have been used to prepare a product known as chuño, which played an important role in the diet of the population of the highland and lowland Andes of South America.
  • Potato can be processed into many dehydrated, frozen or canned tubers.
  • It can also be processed into alcohol and alcoholic beverages including vodka and schnapps.
  • Potato flour/starch can be used to prepare potato mash, snack foods, extruded foods, sweets and other bakery products, weaning foods and baby foods.
  • Potato flour can be mixed with wheat flour to make instant noodles, the Indian ‘paratha’ bread and the Indian sweet preparation ‘gulab jamun’.
  • It is commonly used as thickeners in soups, sauces and gravies.

Other Traditional uses and benefits of Potatoes

  • Fomentations of potato juice followed by an application of liniment and ointment have been used to relieve acute pain in cases of gout, rheumatism and lumbago.
  • Sprains and bruises are successfully treated by the potato-juice preparations, and in cases of synovitis rapid absorption of the fluid have resulted.
  • Hot potato water has been a popular remedy for some forms of rheumatism, fomentations to swollen and painful parts, as hot as can be tolerate.
  • Uncooked, peeled potatoes pounded in a mortar and applied cold, make a very soothing plaster to parts that have been scalded or burnt.
  • The mealy flour of baked potato, mixed with sweet oil, is a very healing application for frostbites.
  • In Derbyshire, hot boiled potatoes are used for corns.
  • Potato tuber and carrot are pounded and the extract taken orally to treat dyspepsia and as a laxative in Rwanda.
  • Leaf extract is used against bacteria species causing tonsillitis in Ethiopia.
  • Slice of potato is used to treat bruises, sprain and blisters and a poultice of potato used to treat fever and sunstroke in Morocco.
  • Mixture of potato tuber, avocado and honey is used as a poultice topically for injuries and wounds, and a decoction of carrot, potato tuber, orange fruit and green clay and honey is taken orally for cough, asthma and sinusitis in Cameroon.
  • Potato skins, along with honey, are a folk remedy for burns in India.

Other Facts

  • Tubers are used as animal feed in parts of Eastern Europe.
  • Potato starch is used in the textile, cosmetic, pharmaceutical and paper industries and in the production of derived substances such as ethanol glucose.

Buying and Storing Tips

  • It is usually better to buy potatoes from the bulk display rather than from the pre-packed plastic bag. This can allow you to examine effectively for just about any indications of damage or even decay.
  • Check for the color as well as kind of the potatoes before choosing. They must be spherical, smooth and really should be free from any type of decay or even rot. Also, prevent the ones which are green colored and have sprouts. The green color in potatoes signifies the existence of the poisonous alkaloid solanine that is of the variety of health problems just like headaches, diarrhea, and respiratory as well as circulatory depression.
  • Check well before purchasing the new potatoes, since they are very likely to discoloration as well as damage.
  • Avoid buying potatoes which are already cleaned and washed. Washing leads to elimination of the protecting layer of potatoes, which often causes them to be prone to a number of microbe infections.
  • Potatoes should not be kept in fridges as their starch content will certainly convert to sugars providing them with an unhealthy flavor.
  • Mature potatoes could be kept for a longer period when compared with new ones. But be sure to check up on them each and every couple of days for indications of deterioration or even discoloration. Once affected, they must be eliminated instantly as they are able rapidly customize the excellence of the others.
  • The perfect temperature for saving potatoes is in between 45°F and 50°F particularly in a dark and dry place. This can avoid their early sprouting as well as dehydration.

Preparation and serving methods

As being a root vegetable they frequently exposed to invasion and for that reason wash them completely just before cooking. Fresh, cleaned tubers could be appreciated along with skin to obtain advantages of fiber and vitamins.

Potato dishes are prepared in lots of ways:

  • Skin-on or peeled, whole or even cut up, along with seasonings or even without.
  • Mashed potatoes- very first boiled and peeled, and after that mashed along with milk or yogurt and butter.
  • Whole baked, boiled or even steamed.
  • French-fried potatoes or even chips.
  • Prepare scrumptious soup/chowder along with leeks, corn, onion and seasoning with pepper and salt.
  • Cut into cubes as well as roasted; scalloped, diced, or sliced and fried.
  • Grated and prepare dumplings, and pancakes.

Besides that here are few popular ways to enjoy Potatoes

1. Baked Potatoes

What might be easier than baking a potato? To bake a potato: wash 1 medium russet potato per person and also pierce in a number of places using a fork. Put the potatoes within the microwave and also cook on Medium, turning a couple of times, till soft, about 20 minutes. (Or make use of the “potato setting” in your microwave and cook in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.) On the other hand, bake potatoes directly on the middle rack in the 400°F oven till soft, 45 to 60 minutes. Baked potatoes include the ideal weeknight dinner and as long as you’re not loading your tater up with high-calorie toppings, they’re pretty healthy too. Try out our Low-Cal Loaded Twice-Baked Potatoes and much more Skinny Potato Recipes.

2. Mashed Potatoes

Although frequently made out of a lot of butter, cream and salt, crushed potatoes could be a comparatively balanced accessory for your meal once you know steps to make them right. With the proper recipes as well as healthy alternatives, just like buttermilk, you are able to abandon all of that butter and cream and create a side that’s still scrumptious. Try out these types of scrumptious, soothing Bacon Mashed Potatoes and much more Healthy Mashed Potato Recipes.

3. Scalloped Potatoes

Scalloped potatoes (AKA “potatoes gratin”) seem like a dish that simply needs to be bad for you: take thin-sliced potatoes, smother them in a heavy cream sauce and after that top along with crunchy buttered breadcrumbs. Yum! But also: yikes! Still, it’s possible to make this comfort-food favorite without wrecking your diet. For the healthier form of scalloped potatoes, we cut 160 calories and 12 grams of saturated fat when compared with traditional recipes by developing a lighter cream sauce and selecting cooking techniques which increase taste yet don’t add additional calories. Try out our lighter recipe for Scalloped Potatoes and learn to duplicate our three techniques for causing them to be healthier.

4. Oven-Fried Potatoes

Next time you’ve got a craving for French fries, don’t hit the drive-thru at McDonald’s, just visit your kitchen area. Oven “fries” are a good way to obtain the scrumptious, crunchy flavor of deep-fried potatoes without all of the grease. Here’s whatever you do: toss potatoes (or sweet potatoes!) cut in thin wedges in olive or even canola oil and after that roast them within the oven at 450°. The outcomes are wonderful: crisp on the exterior and fluffy internally. And the nutrition savings are over the top: a proper serving of our Oven “Fries” has fewer than half the calories of the small serving of McDonald’s French fries. Obtain the recipe: Oven “Fries” and much more Low-Fat Potato Recipes.

5. Roasted Potatoes

Few things appear as soothing to me as roasting potatoes. They’re excellent by themselves yet a lot better because a part of a mélange of veggies. Try combining various varieties-waxy fingerlings as well as thin-skinned baby reds-with carrots, sweet potatoes and chunks of onion. Because the skin remains on, you receive a great dose of fiber whenever you cook in this way.

6. Shredded chicken and spiked yogurt or sour cream

Please take a number of shredded rotisserie chicken (or leftovers; see above) and include some sour cream combined with spices. Garlic powder, chili powder, smoked paprika all work. Spread on some parsley for color.

7. Chili or stew

In case you created a huge batch of chili and therefore are getting fed up with consuming it every single day, this is one way to combine things up.

8. Black beans, avocado, and salsa

A mixture such as this lunch. Consider it as a Mexican potato.

9. Steamed broccoli and a good cheddar cheese

Classic pairing to get a potato–for a reason! We love potatoes along with broccoli as well as salsa (or broccoli and sour cream), too.

10. Hummus and chopped tomato

Perhaps a bit non-traditional, yet we believe the creamy hummus mashed in a potato could be great. You simply need something else for structure, just like some chopped tomatoes or even cucumber.

11. Bacon and egg

The potato is much like your hash browns. Simply top it along with any kind of egg plus some crunchy bacon pieces.

12. Shredded pork and grainy mustard

In case you braise an enormous pork shoulder, you are certain to have got extra. A great method to utilize it, and also the mustard provides excellent taste.

13. Roasted vegetables

An excellent combination of peppers, onions, squash, zucchini, or root vegetables could be excellent. We would include a few yogurt combined with cumin or curry.

14. Sweet potato with greens and parmesan

An all-time favorite in the house. Collard greens are the most useful; their somewhat bitter taste is really good together with the sweet potato.

Safety profile

Potatoes might have poisonous alkaloids, solanine as well as chaconine. These types of alkaloids contained in the maximum amounts simply beneath the skin as well as improve proportionately with age as well as contact with sunlight. Cooking at higher temperature ranges (over 170 °C) partially damages these types of poisonous ingredients.

Whenever ingested in adequate quantities, these types of substances could cause headache, weakness, muscle cramps and, in serious situations loss of awareness and also coma; however, poisoning from potatoes happens hardly ever. Contact with light additionally leads to green discoloration; this provides a visible idea as parts of the tuber that could have an overabundance of harmful toxins; however, this doesn’t give a conclusive clue, as greening and solanine build up may appear individually to one another. Several types include greater solanine concentrations than the others.






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