Potato Benefits, Uses and Harmful Side Effects
Potato (popularly known as ‘Aalu’ in most parts of India) is a health-beneficial sown vegetable that is included in daily food items. There is no doubt about the beneficial qualities of vegetables when it comes to health. These vegetables are loaded with various vitamins, minerals and other nutrients which help in keeping various physical problems or diseases away.
Potato is an annual plant of the ‘Solanaceae’ family which is grown for its edible tubers. Potato plant has a branched stem and leaves arranged together with leaflets that are not of equal size and shape. The leaves of the potato plant are oval-shaped and can be 10-30 cm (4-12 inches) long and 5-15 cm (2-6 inches) wide. Potato trees produce white or blue flowers and yellow-green berries. Potato tubers grow underground and are usually located at the top 25cm (10 in) of the ground. Depending on the variation, the color of the tubers can range from yellow to red or purple. Potato plants can grow to an altitude of more than 1 metre (3.3 feet) and are grown as annual plants, surviving only one growing season. Potatoes are also known as spuds, Irish potatoes, white potatoes or Spanish potatoes and were probably first found in South America.
Benefits and Uses of Potato
Potatoes are cold season crops that are best grown as winter crops in cold weather or in areas with warm summers. They are sensitive to heat but can withstand light frost. Potatoes need a PH level between 5.8 and 6.5. A deep, fertile, loose, well drained soil with levels is required and day temperature rises to the best in night temperature between 18 to 27° Celsius and 12 to 18° Celsius. It can be grown well in large containers or outside the house.
The following article will discuss the benefits, uses and possible side effects of one of such nutritious vegetables- Potato.
Different species of Potato found in India
- Kufri Pukhraj
- Kufri Jyoti
- kufri Bahar
- Bhura Aloo
- Kufri Chipsona
- kufri Sindhuri
- kufri Chandramukhi
- Kufri Khyati
- Lady Rosetta
- Kufri megha
- Kufri Kanchan
- Kufri Arun
- Kufri Surya
Scientific Classification of Potato
- Kingdom : Plantae
- Clade : Tracheophytes
- Clade : Angiosperms
- Clade : Eudicots
- Clade : Asterid
- Order : Solanales
- Family : Solanaceae
- Genus : Solanum
- Species : S. tuberosum
- Scientific name: Solanum tuberosum
Nutritious Substances of Potato
Nutritional value of every 100gms of Potato are-
- Water : 77 gm
- Energy : 87 kilo calorie
- Thiamin : 0.106 mg
- Riboflavin : 0.02 mg
- Vitamin C : 13.0 mg
- Protein : 1.87 gm
- Fat : 0.1 gm
- Fibre : 0.8 gm
- Carbohydrate : 20.13 gm
- Calcium : 5 mg
- Potassium : 379 mg
- Phosphorus : 44 mg
- Iron : 0.31 mg
- Niacin : 1.44 mg
Benefits of Potato
- Good for skin:
Collagen is a mechanism to keep the skin healthy. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant to help prevent damage caused by sun, pollution and smoke. This vitamin C present in potatoes helps in smoothing and refreshing the skin.
Moreover, applying potato paste or juice on burns can prevent skin from puffing and reduces the burning sensation. Besides this, you can apply this same paste or juice on sunburn areas to get soft glowing skin like before.
- Good for metabolism:
Potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin B6. It plays an important role in energy metabolism by breaking carbohydrates and proteins into glucose and amino acids. These small compounds can be used more easily by the body for energy generation.
- Good for bone health:
Iron, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium and zinc present in potatoes help in bone formation as well as it helps in maintaining bone strength. Iron and zinc play an important role in the production and maturity of the collagen required for bone health.
- Controls Blood Pressure:
Potatoes can help control blood pressure. Potatoes contain chlorogenic acid and anthocyanin, chemicals that help in lowering blood pressure.
- Reduces inflammation:
Potatoes with alkali and anti-inflammatory properties soothe the stomach and duodenum ulcers and reduce stomach acidity. Potatoes can also relieve inflammation associated with arthritis.
- Calms nerve disorder:
Potatoes, especially in its white fleshy part, contain an ingredient called tryptophan which is an amino acid rich in natural healing properties that helps calm nerves. El-tryptophan is an essential amino acid present in potatoes that our body cannot naturally produce.
- Good for heart health:
Potatoes contain heart-benefit antioxidant anthocyanins that can do wonders for the heart. It contains fiber, potassium, vitamin C and B6 which are known to be excellent for heart health.
- Improves Digestion:
Potatoes are rich in fiber which makes the digestive process easier. Fiber plays a serious role in digestion and helps in the process of defecation extraction. Potatoes contain potassium, a mineral that can help in early recovery from diarrhea.
- Good for the Brain:
Alpha Lipoic Acid, a co-enzyme present in potatoes, can help boost overall brain health. Experts have called this acid a cure for Alzheimer’s patients. Several vitamins and minerals present in potatoes such as zinc, phosphorus and B complex esp. positively affect brain function. Vitamin B6 is particularly important for maintaining the health of the people.
- Relieves Menstrual Problems:
According to some studies the amount of carbohydrates in potatoes may show benefits in reducing premenstrual symptoms. High potato carb content helps in improving the level of tryptophan, which further increases serotonin production in the body. This increased amount of serotonin stimulates the mind and reduces anxiety.
- Promotes Sleep:
Tryptophan found naturally in potatoes also ensures better sleep. Also, the potassium in potatoes acts as a muscle relaxant, which joins a more comfortable sleep.
- Contributes in boosting Immunity:
Potatoes are a good source of vitamin C. Research has shown that vitamin C can help reduce the severity and duration of the cold.
Uses of Potato
Potatoes are especially used for eating. Potatoes are fried in oil, baked on fire, boiled in water or mixed with other vegetables to make a variety of delicious dishes. The recipes for preparing it for consumption vary from region to region. Potatoes are consumed as a daily staple meal in many countries or regions as they are low maintenance and easily available in any environment.
In addition, potatoes are also used for beauty practices by applying the paste or juice of it to the skin. Their acidic and other nutrients make the skin smooth and glowing.
Read Also: 13 Facts And Benefits of Pea
Harmful Side Effects of Potato
Though potato has many benefits for the health but in some cases it can show harmful effects too. These are mentioned below:
- It is safe to eat ripe potatoes when consumed by mouth. Taking ripe potatoes, potato juice or potato extract as a medicine is probably safe but eating too much roasted potatoes can lead to weight gain. Also, eating potato juice can also cause heartburn, swelling and diarrhea.
- It is unsafe to eat insect-caught or rotten potatoes, green potatoes and sprouted potatoes. They may contain toxic chemicals that cannot be destroyed by cooking. These toxic chemicals can lead to sweating, headache, flushing, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, thirst, restlessness and even death.
- It is safe to eat ripe potatoes that are not covered while pregnant or breastfeeding. But there is not enough reliable information to know if the large quantity used as a drug is safe. So consult a doctor before taking it as a medicine.
The above article lets you know about the benefits of potato and other related details. We hope the information mentioned in this article benefits you in various ways. Thank you!
1) Can potato roots be eaten?
A- Potatoes are sometimes called root crops as we eat the portion of plants grown underground. However, the part of the edible potato is not roots, it is actually a special stem called a tuber.
2) Is it safe to eat green potatoes?
A. Potato tubers- the special stem of the potato tree and the tubers exposed to light turn naturally green. In fact, a harmless compound found in green plants – ‘chlorophyll’. However, when potato tubers are green they usually grow a glycolide compound called solanine. Potatoes with high amounts of solanine will taste bitter and can be harmful if consumed in large quantities. So it is safe to avoid such tubers or potatoes.
3) What are the black spots sometimes seen in potato peels?
A. While washing potato tubers you can sometimes see black spots like soil which are difficult to remove by washing. These black spots are commonly referred to as “black scarves”. Black scarves are a fungus that was looking for a place to spend winter so grew out of potato tubers. This fungus is not harmful to humans. It is completely safe to eat the tubers even if all the black spots on the skin of the tuber shave cannot be removed.
4) In which season potato cultivation is done?
A- Potatoes are grown every spring as an annual plant and harvested in autumn. The part of the plant called “potato” develops underground.
5) What climate do potatoes need to grow?
A. Potatoes grow best in areas with cold rising weather, adequate rainfall, and temperate weather with deep fertile soil. Potatoes are a hot season crop in the north, soft for freezing frost and light, and a cold season crop in the south and west.