Potatoes fall under root vegetables. They are one of the commonly consumed meals all over the globe. However, this meal has stirred up different controversies over the years. This is mostly linked to its high amounts of starch. The high amounts of starch make people doubt if it is healthy. Some people have gone an extra mile to limit their intake levels. We will find out if potatoes are healthy or not healthy.
What are potatoes?
Potatoes can be described as edible plant tuber. This meal originated from South America. There are different potatoes varieties to choose from. They range in terms of nutrient content, size and color. Potatoes can be prepared in different ways. They can be roasted, baked, fried, steamed or boiled.
The nutrients in Potatoes
Potatoes contain a variety of nutrients. However, the nutrient levels vary depending on the types of potatoes. Below are some nutrients found in potatoes and their benefits to the body:
- Fat reduces inflammation in the body. It also promotes the wellness of the nervous system and the brain.
- Protein is used by the body to repair damaged tissues. It also promotes muscle growth.
- Carbs are a source of energy. They are used as fuel for the central nervous system, muscles, heart and the kidney.
- Fiber improves the wellness of the digestive tract. It can also help lower high blood sugar levels for diabetic people.
- Sodium helps balance the body fluids. It is also needed during muscle contraction.
- Vitamin C helps strengthen the immune system. It also helps in the maintenance of strong teeth and bones.
Manganese, potassium and vitamin B6 are other nutrients found in potatoes. The selected preparation method can affect the nutrient levels in potatoes. A lot of people don’t know that the outer skin of the potatoes contains nutrients. Your potatoes will lose some minerals and fiber if you peel the skin. Frying potatoes can also increase the calorie and fat amount when compared to other preparation methods. There are also processed potatoes. These potatoes are perceived unhealthy because of their fat, calories and sodium levels.
Antioxidants found in potatoes
Potatoes contain high amounts of antioxidants. These antioxidants help deal with free radicals that can cause chronic disease if left to accumulate in the body. Enough studies revealed that thee antioxidants also reduce the risks of some chronic conditions such as cancer diabetes and heart disease. Phenolic acids, carotenoids and flavonoids are example of antioxidants found in potatoes. Antioxidants in colored potatoes were found to be more effective in fighting free radicals. Intense studies revealed that antioxidants in potatoes were capable of preventing growth of some types of cancer. They range from cancer of the liver and colon cancer.
Potatoes have resistant starch
Resistant starch is special because it cannot be digested in the small intestine. Instead, it is feed to the good bacteria in the gut. Look no further if you are looking for vegetables rich in resistant starch. Simply choose potatoes. Resistant starch is also linked with numerous benefits. It can increase insulin sensitivity, improving the performance of the digestive trcat and aids in regulating blood sugar levels. Resistant starch also promotes fullness thus reducing calorie intake per meal.
Potatoes are filling
Do you want to limit your calorie intake each day? If yes, consider potatoes. Potatoes are listed as one of the filling meals. Boiled potatoes are more filling when compared to other preparation method. This means that potatoes can be used to control your calorie intake each day. The potato skins also contain fiber. Fiber also slows down the digestion process thus making you full for long hours. This will automatically reduce hunger.
Potatoes and weight gain
Some types of potatoes are linked with weight gain. This is the reason some people limit the amounts of potatoes they consume. Weight gain can be attained in two ways. First, potatoes can increase your waist circumference. Secondly, an increase in body mass and fat is another way potatoes promote weight gain. Processed potato chips are the highest contributor of weight gain. They contain high amounts of calories and fat. The preparation methods of potatoes and the amounts of potatoes you eat also influence the amount of weight you will gain.
Glycoalkaloids in potatoes
Glycoalkaloids is a toxic compound. Some traces of this compound can be potatoes. Chaconine and solanine are the types of glycoalkaloids found in potatoes. Potatoes generate more glycoalkaloid concentration if exposed to the light for a long period. This makes them toxic, and poses some health problems such as inflammatory bowel disease and the digestive complications. Itchiness and drowsiness are other symptoms linked to glycoalkaloid toxicity. Proper storage of potatoes is the secret towards reducing the glycoalkaloid levels.
Getting healthy potatoes
Potatoes can be an excellent diet if consumed with moderation. This will help you body maximize on the nutrients and fiber. Be careful on how you prepare your potatoes. Some preparation methods are not recommended for people who want to keep healthy. Consider eating both the skin and the flesh. This way, you will consume more minerals, vitamins and fiber. Steaming, boiling and baking are the most recommended healthy ways of eating your potatoes. These preparation methods reduce calorie and fat intake.
Potatoes are very rich in nutrients such as minerals, vitamins, resistant starch and fiber. Try your best and avoid fried or processed potatoes. They are linked with long term negative effects. Above all; consume potatoes with moderation for benefits.