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Some Surprising Health Benefits of Potatoes

Posted by SoundHealth on Wednesday, February 09, 2011
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Potatoes, when prepared the right way, are a surprisingly healthful food. They are low in calories, provide a supply of fiber, B vitamins, and minerals, and are esepecially high in Vitamin C.

Potatoes are one of the cheapest and most readily available sources of Vitamin C - a nutrient that is vital for keeping the immune system healthy. New potatoes are richer in this antioxidant than old ones.

Potatoes also contain vitamin B6, which helps to make the immunity-boosting amino acids that are crucial for good health. Vitamin B6 is needed by phagocytes - white blood cells - to mop up waste matter from cells.

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 provide a form of complex carbohydrates, the best form of energy food. This form of carbohydrates is essential for keeping the body fit. They provide slow-burning fuel, and help the body to maintain the muscle it has built. The potato is actually one of the safer forms of carbohydrates, as it doesn't contain irritants like gluten which are found in grains.

Potatoes are associated with protecting against colon cancer, because of the cleansing action of the starch, which passes through the digestive tract and into the colon.

Potatoes contain chlorogenic acid, a chemical that prevents cell mutations leading to cancer.

The potato is highly versatile - you can bake it, boil it, mash it or fry it. Boiled or baked with the skin on will provide a multitude of nutrients including potassium, plus healthy dietary fiber. Most of the fiber, which aids digestion, is found in the skin of the potato; however, the other vitamins and minerals are in the potato flesh itself.

Potatoes should be stored in a cool, dark place, but not in a refrigerator, as extreme cold will cause their starch to turn to sugar.

Potatoes will sprout if kept in the light too long - avoid eating these sprouts, as they contain poisonous alkaloids. However, there's nothing harmful about eating a potato that has small sprouts after they have been trimmed off.

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