Goa’s Bounty: Potato (Solanum tuberosum)
Potatoes although very popular, are underrated in terms of nutritional benefits. They contain nutrients that go far beyond carbohydrates and calories. They are a store house of energy and nutrition. Potatoes are rich in vitamins and minerals. They are an excellent source of vitamin C, folate, vitamin B6 and vitamin B3 and contain good amounts of vitamin B1, B2, B5 and vitamin K. They also contain good amounts of magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorus and moderate amounts of iron,
copper, zinc and calcium. They thus contribute to bone health. Potatoes also contain a variety of phytonutrients, like flavanoids and caffeic acid which act as antioxidants.
Potatoes offer many health benefits. They are known to stimulate brain function, provide relief from rheumatism, reduce the risk of heart disease, strengthen the immune system, help reduce blood pressure and protect against cancer. They also benefit skin health. Potatoes also contain Choline a substance that helps maintain structure of cellular membranes, helps with sleep and muscle movement and transmission of nerve impulses. It also aids fat absorption and improves memory.
The significant amount of fibre present in potatoes lowers cholesterol, prevents constipation promoting a healthy digestive tract and reduces the risk of colorectal cancer. The potato skin is a concentrated source of dietary fibre; therefore it is advisable to consume potatoes with skin. Clean the potato properly before doing so. Potatoes are beneficial to athletes who compete, as they are primarily made of carbohydrates and can provide large reserves of energy.
So do not hesitate to add potatoes to your diet, just make sure you do not consume them in the form of greasy French fries or potato chips or with loads of fat. Choose healthier recipes like baked or roasted potatoes. Potatoes are calorie dense so make sure you eat them in moderation if you are trying to lose weight. They are also a great addition to kid’s diets and those who are interested in weight gain.