Potatoes have been a valuable food source for centuries, and they form the staple diet of many people around the world. Their health benefits include improved digestion, skin protection, reduced blood pressure and strong immune system, among others.
There’s one caveat with this – most of the nutrients are just underneath the potato skin, so to get all these benefits you must eat the skin as well as the inside part.
1. Helps Weight Gain
While this may not be a benefit for most people, they are an ideal food for those who struggle to maintain their weight or who need to put on weight.
Potatoes contain vitamin C and B complex vitamins, which help in the proper absorption of carbohydrates. Sumo wrestlers eat a lot of potatoes for this reason, and athletes who rely on a large carb intake also make potatoes a big part of their diets.
2. Ease of Digestion
The carbohydrates in potatoes make them easy to digest, which makes them a good food for weaning babies or for those who struggle to digest other foods.
Potato skins also contain a lot of fiber, which eases conditions like constipation and could help protect the body against colorectal cancer.
3. Skin Care
Potatoes contain minerals like potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc, which are beneficial for the skin.
A face mask made from the pulp of raw potatoes mixed with honey can help cure pimples and spots on the skin, and potato pulp applied to burns can help them heal faster and soothe the pain.
4. Treats Scurvy
A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that potatoes have high levels of vitamin C and carotenoid. Vitamin C can help prevent scurvy, the symptoms of which include cracked lip corners, spongy and bleeding gums, and frequent viral infections.
Scurvy isn’t a problem in first and second world countries, but it does still exist in some nations.
5. Helps Rheumatism
The minerals in potatoes can provide relief from rheumatism, and the water from boiling potatoes can be used to relieve the pain and inflammation.
6. Reduce Inflammation
Potatoes are good at reducing inflammation internally and externally, according to a paper published by the Oakland Research Institute, California.
They are soft, easily digested, and contain vitamin C, potassium, and vitamin B6, and can relieve inflammation in the intestines and digestive system.
7. May Prevent Cancer
Some potatoes, especially russet and red-skinned ones, have high levels of flavonoid antioxidants like zeaxanthin and carotenes, which may help protect against several types of cancer.
One study has shown that potatoes contain a compound called quercetin, which has been proven to contain anti-cancer and anti-tumor properties.
8. Keeps Blood Pressure Low
The fiber in potato skins is helpful in lowering cholesterol and improving insulin function, which helps lower blood pressure. The potassium in potatoes also helps lower blood pressure, since it acts as a vasodilator.
9. Brain Function
Potatoes are high in carbohydrates, which help keep glucose levels in the blood high. This prevents brain fatigue, and can keep cognitive activity and brain performance high.
There are a variety of vitamins and minerals in potatoes that assist with brain function, including phosphorus, zinc, and potassium.
10. Could Prevent Heart Diseases
Potatoes contain carotenoids called lutein and zeaxanthin, which are beneficial for heart health and the functioning of other internal systems, but as potatoes can lead to weight gain, consumption should be monitored.
11. Treats Diarrhea
Potatoes are easy to digest and bland enough for the stomach to cope with during diarrhea bouts, but eating too many of them may make the problem worse, due to the starch content.