Potatoes are stuffed with phytonutrients, which are organic components of plants that are thought to promote health, according to the USDA. Phytonutrients in potatoes include carotenoids, flavonoids and caffeic acid.
The vitamin C in potatoes acts as anantioxidant. These substances may prevent or delay some types of cell damage, according to the National Institutes of Health. Theymay also help with digestion, heart health, blood pressure and even cancer prevention.
Brain functioning and nervous system health:

The B6 vitamins in potatoes are critical to maintaining neurological health. Vitamin B6 helps create useful brain chemicals, including serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, according to theUniversity of Maryland Medical Center. This means that eating potatoes may help with depression, stress and even perhaps attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Potatoes’ high level of carbohydrates may have some advantages, including helping maintain good levels of glucose in the blood, which is necessary to proper brain functioning. A 1995 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that modest increases in glucose could helpenhance learning and memory. Potassium, which encourages the widening of blood vessels, also helps ensure your brain gets enough blood.

Vitamin C can help prevent everything from scurvy to the common cold, and potatoes are full of this nutrient, with about 45 percent of the daily recommended intake per medium baked potato, according to theWashington State Potato Commission.

The largest health benefit offered by potatoes is how they can help with digestion due to their high fiber content, Jarzabkowski said. Potatoes’ high level of carbohydrates makes them easy to digest, while their fiber-filled skin can help keep you regular.
High Blood Pressure:
Since high blood pressure can occur for a number of reasons that include diabetes, tension, indigestion, nutrient balance, food content and many others, different treatments are required. Luckily, potatoes can alleviate multiple possible causes; potatoes can be used to relievehigh blood pressuredue to tension. They can also treat indigestion due to abundance of vitamin-C and fiber within it, but they should be avoided if the high blood pressure is a result of diabetes. The fiber present in it is helpful in lowering cholesterol and improves functioning of insulin in the body, which aids in the lowering of blood pressure. This is because there is a direct relation between blood pressure and the glucose level in the blood; insulin helps to regulates that glucose level. Furthermore, thepotassiumfound in potatoes (46% of daily requirement per serving) lowers blood pressure, since potassium functions as a vasodilator.Apart from the vitamins (B-complex, C), minerals and roughage, potatoes also contain certain substances called Carotenoids (lutein, zeaxanthin). Carotenoids are beneficial for heart health and the functioning of other internal organs. Again, since potatoes raises the glucose level in the blood and over-consumption may cause obesity, which puts pressure on your heart, you must be careful about how often you use potatoes for this health benefit. This method ofpreventing heart diseaseis not recommended for obese or diabetic people.
Athletic performance:

Potatoes can help restore electrolyte balance. Sodium and potassium, which are found in potato peels, are two important electrolytes, and athletes lose them in sweat. Electrolytes are necessary for optimum body function, and having too few can cause cramps, as many athletes know.
There are two parts to the effect of potatoes on this condition. Vitamins like the calcium and magnesium in potatoes help to provide relief from rheumatism. Also, water obtained from boiling potatoes can relieve the pain and inflammation of rheumatism. However, due to 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.
Potatoes are very effective inreducing inflammation, both internal and external. Since it is soft, easily digested and has a lot of vitamin-C (a very good antioxidant that repairs tissue wear and tear), potassium and vitamin-B6, it can relieve any inflammation of the intestines and the digestive system. It is very good dietary element for those who have mouth ulcers as well. Therefore, people who suffer from arthritis and gout can use potatoes for their anti-inflammatory impact, but again, since it can add to weight gain, which exacerbates these conditions, and is commonly eaten with meat and other rich foods that make gout worse, a fine balance must be struck.
Cancer Prevention:
Certain types of potatoes, particularly red and russet potatoes, contain high levels offlavonoid antioxidantsand vitamin A like zeaxanthin and carotenes, they can protect you against many types of cancer. Also, 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.

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Skin Care:
Vitamin-C and B-complex as well as minerals like potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc are good for the skin. Apart from that, pulp obtained from crushed raw potatoes, mixed with honey, can work well in skin and face packs. This even helps to cure pimples and spots on the skin. Again, this pulp, if applied externally on burns, provides quick relief and faster healing. Smashed potatoes, and even water in which potatoes have been washed, are very good for softening and cleaning skin, especially around the elbows, and the back of the hands.
Kidney Stones:Kidney Stones, also known as Renal Calculi, are caused mainly due to increased levels of uric acid in the blood. In such cases, foods high in protein should be avoided, particularly animal proteins such as meat, turkey, shrimp, fish, eggs, and milk, as well as spinach, raw plantain, black grams and certain beans, which drastically increase the level of uric acid in the blood. Iron and calcium also contribute to forming the stones. Potatoes are rich in both of these so logically, they wouldn’t fit in as a preventative measure of kidney stones, but they also contain magnesium, which inhibits the accumulation or deposition of calcium (calcification) in the kidney and other tissues, thereby proving beneficial for treatment of renal calculi.

For women of childbearing age, consuming more iron from plant sources appears to promote fertility, according Harvard Medical School’s Harvard Health Publications. The vitamin A in sweet potatoes (consumed as beta-carotene then converted to vitamin A in the body) is also essential during pregnancy and lactation for hormone synthesis.
Health risks:

Potatoes are fat free, but they are also starchy carbohydrates with little protein. According to Harvard, the carbohydrates in potatoes are the kind that the body digests rapidly and have a high glycemic load. That is, they cause blood sugar and insulin to surge and then dip. This effect can make people feel hungry again soon after eating, which may lead to overeating. The rapid rise in blood sugar can also lead to increased insulin production.
Even when prepared in a healthy way, potatoes can present health problems to individuals with obesity or diabetes. They are high in simple carbohydrates, which can lead to weight gain. Jarzabkowski likened the vegetables in this way to white bread.
Best Preparation Methods:
The best way to eat a potato is in its whole, unprocessed form,” she said. Baking a potato is the best way to prepare it, as baking, or microwaving, a potato causes the lowest amount of nutrients to be lost, she said.
The next-healthiest way to cook a potato is through steaming, which causes less nutrient loss than boiling. Cooking a peeled potato in this way results in significant nutrient loss, as the water-soluble nutrients leach out into the water.
In a potato, those water-soluble nutrients include B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, potassium and calcium. As much as 80 percent of a potato’s vitamin C may go down the drain if you boil the vegetable. The same thing can happen with peeled potatoes that are left to soak, a method used to stop darkening. If you use the water from the potato boil as stock, however, you’ll still get some of the nutrients.
However you cook a potato, try to eat the skin. Ounce for ounce, the skin contains more nutrients — including the majority of the vegetable’s fiber — than the rest of the potato
Potatoes and Diabetes:
Glycemic Index:

Potatoes have a GI value that ranges from 65 to 80 which is considered high. By comparison table sugar (sucrose) has a GI of 63, white bread has a GI of 71, whole meal bread a GI of 60, and brown rice a GI of 55.
Interestingly the method of cooking and variety of potato can affect the GI value of potatoes greatly. Newer potatoes tend to have lower GI values than older potatoes. Waxy potato varieties such as Red Norland, Yellow Finn, and Red Pontiac have lower GI values than floury potato varieties such as Russet Burbank and Norgold Russet.
A 2005 study published in The Journal of the American Dietetic Associationlooked at the effect of cooking method on the GI index of potatoes. The researchers found that mashed and boiled potatoes had the highest GI values (85-90). Baked, roasted, or microwaved potatoes had moderate GI values (70-80), while boiling red potatoes, refrigerating overnight, and eating them cold the following day resulted in a GI value of just 56.
Diabetics may also benefit from eating potatoes with the skin on. Potatoes with skin have almost twice the amount of fibre as the flesh by itself. Fiber is important for diabetics because it helps slow the digestion of food, preventing large spikes in blood sugar. Furthermore, although not a significant source of nutrients itself, the potato skin can help prevent the leeching of nutrients into the water when potatoes are boiled.
Carbohydrate Content:

A medium sweet potato contains 26 grams of carbohydrates, of which 3.8 grams are dietary fiber, while a cup of mashed sweet potatoes has 58 grams of carbohydrates and 8.2 grams of fiber. Fiber, which is part of the total carbohydrate content, does not elevate blood sugar levels and can be subtracted from the total grams of carbohydrates to have a better idea of the blood sugar-rising potential of a food. In the case of a baked sweet potatoes, subtract the 3.8 grams of fiber from the 26 grams of carbohydrates to determine that they contain only 22.2 grams of available carbs per serving. With mashed, sweet potatoes, subtracting the 8.2 grams of fiber from the 58 grams of carbs gives you a total of 49.8 grams of available carbs per cup. If you are carb counting to control your diabetes, use available carbs to be more accurate.
Serving Size:

The American Diabetes Association recommends that you consume no more than 45 to 60 grams of carbs per meal, which means that you can easily include sweet potatoes as part of your diabetic meal plan. For example, you could have a medium sweet potato, providing 22.2 grams of available carbs along with other foods that are free of carbohydrates like chicken or salmon, broccoli and butter. Add a serving of plain yogurt and berries to get a total of up to 45 to 60 grams for your meal.
Sources for Further Studies:
Tags : Effect of Potatoes on DiabetesHealth Benefits of Potatoes.

The author Prince

Hi, I’m Prince.. a registered Dietitian, an avid reader and a passionate writer. I hope you enjoy my articles as much as I enjoy writing them

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