Potatoes contain a variety of phytonutrients that have antioxidant activity. Unfortunately, many people eat potatoes in the form of greasy French fries or potato chips, but take away the extra fat and deep frying, and a potato is an exceptionally healthful low calorie, high fiber food that offers significant protection against diseases like cancer and diabetes.
The potato contains as much Vitamin C as a medium tomato and, with its skin on, twice as much potassium as a banana and a good amount of fiber. Red potatoes and new potatoes contain the highest levels on antioxidants, especially carotenoids and anthocyanins. Potatoes provide good quality protein, just as beneficial as the soya bean. They also contain vitamin B6, which helps to make the immunity-boosting amino acids that are crucial to good health.
The starch in cooked potato is easily digestible, so it is good for anyone with digestive problems and as a weaning food for infants. Potatoes are packed with complex carbohydrates, the best form of energy food, and which are essential to fitness. They provide slow-burning fuel and help the body to maintain the muscle it has built.
A popular belief is that all of the nutrition is contained within the skin of the potato. But more than fifty percent of the overall nutrition content can be found in the potato itself.
Cancer - Human case studies have shown that lectins, such as those found in potatoes, attach to receptors on cancer cell membranes, leading to apoptosis (cell death) and cytotoxicity (producing a toxic effect on cells), and inhibiting tumor growth.
diabetes - potato peel added to the diet of diabetic rats was found to significantly reduce plasma glucose and drastically reduce frequent urination complication attributed to diabetes. The total food intake was significantly reduced too.
Tips on Using Potatoes
- Potatoes exposed to too much light will turn green, due to the formation of a chemical called solanine on the skin of the potato. Always remove any green skin or flesh from the potato, as if is eaten in excess it can be toxic.
- Potatoes should not be stored in the refrigerator, as their starch content will turn to sugar, giving them an undesirable taste and they will turn dark when cooked.
- Ruano-Ravina, A., Figueiras, A., Dosil-Diaz, O., Barreiro-Carracedo, A., & Barros-Dios, J.M. (2002). A population-based case-control study on fruit and vegetable intake and lung cancer: a paradox effect? nutrition and cancer, 43(1), 47-51.
- De Mejía, E.G., & Prisecaru, V. (2005, November). Lectins as bioactive plant proteins: a potential in cancer treatment. Critical Reviews in Food Science & nutrition, 45(6), 425-445.
- Singh N, Kamath V, Rajini PS. Protective effect of potato peel powder in ameliorating oxidative stress in streptozotocin diabetic rats. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2005 Jun;60(2):49-54.