Benefits of Potatoes for Health, Can Maintain Heart Health

Apart from rice and cassava, potatoes are a substitute for carbohydrates that are often used. Cheap and easy to cook with a variety of methods make it often chosen by the public.

There is no doubt about the nutritional content of potatoes. Besides containing almost no fat, the calories in potatoes are relatively low. One medium boiled potato (100 grams) contains only about 90 calories.

In addition, potatoes are also filling, which makes you more able to resist eating more. Therefore, potatoes are usually the main carbohydrate menu for the diet.

Various Nutritional Content of Potatoes

The nutritional content of potatoes consists of macro and micro nutrients. Macro nutrients mean the nutrients the body needs in large quantities. Carbohydrates, fats and proteins are included in macro nutrients, while vitamins and minerals are classified as micronutrients, which means that the body needs them in small amounts.

The following are various nutritional contents of potatoes:

1. Carbohydrates

Potatoes consist of 66–90% carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are often seen as the culprit for weight gain. This is not entirely wrong, especially if carbohydrates are consumed in excess. However, the body actually still needs carbohydrates because carbohydrates are the main source of energy for the body.

Experts recommend that 45–65% of total calories per day come from carbohydrates. So, if the body needs 2,000 calories per day, 900–1300 calories are suggested to come from carbohydrates. You can meet this need with potatoes.

2. Fiber

The fiber content in potatoes is mostly found in the skin. Fiber in potatoes is a type of fiber that can be a food source for good bacteria in the large intestine, so it is useful for maintaining the health of the digestive tract. In addition, this fiber is also known to control blood sugar.

In order to get maximum benefit, it is recommended that you drain the freshly cooked potatoes first. Potatoes that have been cold contain higher fiber content than potatoes that are eaten hot.

3. Protein

Protein functions in the production of body chemicals such as hormones and enzymes. Protein is also needed in building muscle, bones, blood cells, hair and skin. The protein content in potatoes is relatively low, even at least compared to other food crops, such as corn and wheat.

However, the protein content contained in potatoes is classified as high quality. The main protein in potatoes is called patatin. Some people may have an allergy to this potato protein.

4. Antioxidants

Antioxidants are known to prevent free radicals and various chronic diseases, such as coronary heart disease, some cancers, and diabetes. However, further studies are still needed to prove the effectiveness of antioxidants in potatoes to reduce the risk of chronic disease in humans.

5. Potassium

Potassium is the most abundant mineral in potatoes. This mineral can reduce the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Most potassium levels are found in potato skins.

6. Folate

If consumed regularly, potatoes can be a good source of folate. Folate is an essential nutrient for the body, especially for pregnant women. Pregnant women or who are undergoing a pregnant program are encouraged to eat foods that contain lots of folic acid.

7. Vitamin B6

One of the nutritional content of potatoes that is equally important is vitamin B6 which plays a role in the formation of blood cells, maintains nerve health, helps the production of antibodies or immune substances, and supports protein digestion.

8. Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that is useful for repairing body tissues, helps absorb iron, maintains healthy bones and teeth, and plays a role in the immune system. The highest levels of vitamin C in potatoes are located in the skin.

How to Process Healthy Potatoes

Although potatoes contain many important nutrients, improper processing of potatoes can negate the nutritional benefits of potatoes themselves. Boiling, steaming, and baking are the best ways to preserve the nutrients in potatoes.

Meanwhile, frying potatoes to make chips or fries can make potatoes contain excess calories. This then can lead to weight gain.

It is also advisable to eat potatoes without peeling the skin in order to get the maximum nutritional content of potatoes. As mentioned earlier, fiber, vitamins, and minerals are actually more abundant in potato skins.

Even so, you need to be careful in processing potatoes. If the potatoes are greenish or you see new shoots, you shouldn't eat them. Potatoes that sprout or are greenish in color contain toxins that can be harmful to the body.

If necessary, you can consult your doctor regarding how to properly process potatoes so that the nutritional content of potatoes is not reduced and the type of potato preparation is suitable for your health condition.

Various Benefits of Potatoes That You Can Get

Potatoes are a popular carbohydrate source as a substitute for rice. This type of tuber, which has the Latin name Solanum tuberosum, is relatively easy to process and create into a variety of starters, mains and desserts which are of course delicious. Not only delicious, you can get a variety of goodness in it. What are the health benefits of potatoes? Check out the reviews below.

1. Contains antioxidants

Potatoes are very rich in flavonoids, karetonoid, and phenolic acids. These compounds act as antioxidants in the body which will prevent free radicals from appearing that normally damage body cells.

In fact, the accumulation of free radicals is believed to be a risk factor for various chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Research in Nutrition and Cancer in 2011 showed that the antioxidants in potatoes can suppress the growth of liver and colon cancer cells.

Therefore, to reduce the risk of all these diseases, you can eat potatoes.

2. Helps control blood sugar

Many say that potatoes are bad for diabetes, but it's the opposite. Another benefit of potatoes is that it helps control blood sugar, so this source of carbohydrates is quite safe for diabetics.

Potatoes contain a lot of starch called resistant starch which cannot be fully absorbed by the body. When resistant starch enters the large intestine, this starch will become a source of nutrition for the good bacteria in the intestine. Research suggests that resistant starch can make insulin, the hormone controlling blood sugar, work more optimally.

In addition, a study in Medicine (Baltimore) 2015 conducted on people with type two diabetes also showed that after consuming foods with resistant starch, blood sugar was shown to be more stable.

Interestingly, you can also increase the resistant starch content of potatoes by storing boiled potatoes in the refrigerator overnight and then eating them cold.

3. Good for digestion

Still related to the resistant starch content of potatoes, which can actually help improve the digestive system. So when it enters the intestine, this resistant starch will be eaten by good bacteria. Then, these good bacteria will convert it into short chain fatty acids.

Well, these short-chain fatty acids have a myriad of health benefits, for example, they can reduce the risk of inflammation in the colon, strengthen colon defenses, and reduce the risk of colorectal cancer (colon cancer). In addition, chain fatty acids from resistant starch are also very important to help people who are experiencing intestinal infections, such as Crohn's disease, or diverticulitis.

4. Gluten free

The substance in potatoes is also gluten free. Gluten is a type of protein found in grains, such as wheat germ. For people who have problems processing gluten such as celiac disease, potatoes can be the right choice.

Although gluten-free, not all potato recipes are completely gluten-free. Some potato dishes contain gluten such as in gravy, or potato bread. If you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, be sure to read the full ingredient list first.

5. Maintain normal blood pressure

Another important benefit of potatoes is that they help stabilize blood pressure. Reported on the Live Science page, potatoes are a good source of potassium, even more so than bananas.

Potassium is a mineral that can help lower blood pressure by stimulating blood vessels to expand in size. Apart from that, potatoes also contain calcium and magnesium, which also play a role in controlling normal blood pressure.

Reported on the Live Science page, the Institute for Food Research has found that potatoes contain chemicals called kukoamines, which are also linked to lowering blood pressure.

6. Maintain a healthy nervous system and brain function

Vitamin B6 in potatoes is very important for maintaining healthy neurons or nerves. Vitamin B6 helps create brain chemicals namely, including serotonin, dopamine, and noreprineephrine according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

This means, eating potatoes can help with depression or stress. In addition, the potassium in potatoes, which can encourage the dilation of blood vessels, also helps ensure that the brain gets enough blood.

7. Maintain heart health

The carotenoids in potatoes help maintain proper heart function. Vitamins C and B6 also help reduce free radicals in heart cells and other body cells. Vitamin B6 also has an important role in a process in the body called the methylation process.

One of the functions of this process is to convert homocysteine, a dangerous molecule, into methionine, a new structural component in protein. Too much homocysteine ​​can damage blood vessel walls and higher levels have been linked to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

8. Maintain Healthy Skin

Not only citrus fruits, but potatoes also contain high vitamin C, you know! The benefits of vitamin C are to repair various skin damage due to exposure to UV rays, air pollution, or free radicals from vehicle fumes.

In addition, vitamin C also acts as an antioxidant to smooth wrinkles and improve the texture and tone of your skin naturally.

Potatoes also contain other vitamins that are good for the skin, such as vitamin B complex, potassium, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus to nourish the skin from within. Some people even feel the benefits of potatoes for face masks.

9. Improve the Immune System

Apart from the meat, it turns out that potato skins also contain vitamin B, vitamin C, iron, calcium, potassium and other nutrients similar to potato meat. The benefits of potato skins are to increase the immune system from the high vitamin C content.

The immune system is a natural system in the body whose job it is to fight infection from viruses, bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms. Without a strong immune system, you may get sick easily.

Are There Any Side Effects Of Eating Potatoes?

Although rarely heard of, but behind the health benefits of potatoes there are side effects that can interfere with health. Potatoes contain potassium so it should be avoided by people with kidney disease who have difficulty filtering potassium in the body.

In addition, do not cook potatoes to more than 120 degrees Celsius, because at this temperature, potatoes will produce acrylamide compounds that have the potential to increase the risk of cancer, reproductive problems, and nerves.

Not only from the way of cooking, you also have to avoid eating potatoes that have sprouted or which are greenish in color. Under these conditions, potatoes contain solanine compounds which can cause circulatory and respiratory disorders, diarrhea, headaches, and muscle cramps.

If you are taking heart disease drugs in the form of beta blockers or beta-blockers, then you need to limit your consumption of potatoes, because beta-blocker drugs can increase the level of potassium in the blood.

So, there are the various benefits of potatoes and the risks. Enjoy potatoes in the right way and reap the benefits. Don't forget to consult with your doctor to get the optimal health benefits of potatoes.

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