Potatoes, whether of the sweet or Irish variety, can be enjoyed in various ways. It could be as simple as boiling or frying them to more elaborate recipes like baked potatoes and chicken.
Regardless of the recipe, you'll need to clean the tubers thoroughly to avoid getting dirt in your meal. This leads to the common practice of peeling off the potato skins but nutritionists say this isn't right.
According to experts potato skins provide numerous health benefits linked to important contents like natural fiber, vitamin A, beta-carotene and many others.
Leaving the skin on your potatoes boosts the nutritional content. Below, we have outlined some of the additional benefits you can obtain from eating potatoes this way.
1. Can boost your immunity
Potato skins contain vitamin C which can help boost your immunity. The vitamin C also contains anti-oxidant properties which helps tackle free radicals and so prevent debilitating diseases like heart diseases and cancer.
2. Is beneficial to eye health
The National Institutes of Health reports that a baked sweet potato with its skin can provide 156 percent of your daily recommended intake of vitamin A. Eating potato skin with its skin can therefore provide benefits of vitamin A including healthy vision, boosting immunity, reproduction, as well as cellular communication.
3. Aids digestion
Potato skin has a distinctly high fiber content which makes it highly beneficial to the digestive system. The fiber adds bulk and absorbs water to soften your stool so it can pass smoothly through your digestive system and help prevent constipation. This dietary fiber has also been reported to lower your risks of developing colon cancer.
4. Can elevate your mood
The vitamin B in potato skins can rid moodiness and reduce stress. This is backed by reports from a 2014 Australian study where researchers administered B vitamins and antioxidants to a group of 200 full-time employees for six months. The result showed that the subjects had an improvement in cognitive ability and mood.
5. Can aid weight loss
Potatoes and their skin are fat-free and contain little amounts of high-quality plant protein, which makes them a great addition to your weight loss diet. In addition, the natural fiber content can aid metabolism even while making you feel satisfied with a small portion.
Just make sure that you reduce the amounts of oil used in cooking the potatoes or better still, stick to boiling and baking them!
6. Can help regulate blood pressure
Potato skin can help your heart function properly, preventing heart diseases and regulating your blood pressure naturally through the actions of minerals like potassium, magnesium and calcium.
7. Can counter allergies and protect against diseases
Potato skins are a rich source of flavonoids, a type of phytonutrient with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects that protect your body against disease and infection. Quercetin is one of such flavonoids and it especially known to inhibit histamine release, which explains why it is commonly found in anti-allergy medications.
8. Is good for bone health
Potatoes peels contain magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, calcium, copper, iron and zinc, all of which are imperative to your bone health. Therefore, eating potato with its skin will help maintain bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis in women after menopause.
9. Contains choline
Choline is highly vital to the production of lecithin, which is a part of cell walls, plasma and lipoproteins. This nutrient is also beneficial to your brain and nervous system, helping to regulate your mood, memory and muscle control, among many other functions!
On a final note, there is a great need to stress on the importance of cleaning your potatoes properly as the skin may harbor dirt and pesticides. Here's how to do that effectively in a few easy steps:
Scrub the potato potato well under cold, running water, using a brush or kitchen towel.
Use a knife to remove any nubby sprouts on the potato.
Cut out any green spots on the potatoes as they signal the presence of solanine, a toxin that can cause headaches, nausea, and fatigue if consumed.
Now, your potato is ready to cook with its skin on!