Health Benefits of Potatoes
In the context of a healthy diet, potatoes with skin may have a number of health benefits.
Potatoes contain a number of minerals and plant compounds that may help lower blood pressure.
The high potassium content of potatoes is particularly noteworthy.
Several observational studies and randomized controlled trials have linked high potassium intake with reduced risk of hypertension and heart disease .
Other substances that may promote lower blood pressure include chlorogenic acid and kukoamines
Satiety and Weight Management
Foods that are very satiating may contribute to weight control, prolonging the feeling of fullness after meals and reducing food and energy intake
Relative to other carbohydrate-rich foods, potatoes seem to be particularly satiating.
One study, which compared the satiety index of 40 common foods, found potatoes to be the most satiating of all .
Another small trial in 11 men showed that eating boiled potatoes, as a side dish with pork steak, led to less calorie intake during the meal when compared to pasta or white rice.
It is unclear which components of potatoes contribute to their satiating effects.
However, studies indicate that a potato protein, known as proteinase inhibitor 2 (PI2), may act to suppress appetite
Even though PI2 may suppress appetite when taken in its pure form, it is unclear whether it has any effect in the trace amounts present in potatoes.
Eating potatoes is generally regarded as healthy and safe.
However, in some cases, people need to limit their consumption, or avoid them altogether.
Food allergies are a common condition, characterized by a harmful immune reaction to proteins in certain foods.Potato allergy is relatively uncommon, but some people may be allergic to patatin, one of the main proteins in potatoes.
Some people that are allergic to latex may be sensitive to patatin as well, a phenomenon known as allergic cross-reactivity
Glycoalkaloids, Potato Toxins
Plants of the nightshade family, such as potatoes, contain a class of toxic phytonutrients known as glycoalkaloids.
There are two main glycoalkaloids found in potatoes, solanine and chaconine.
Glycoalkaloid poisoning after eating potatoes has been reported in both humans and animals.
However, reports of toxicity are rare and the condition may be undiagnosed in many cases.
In low doses, glycoalkaloids usually cause mild symptoms, such as headache, stomach pain, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.
In more serious cases, the symptoms include neurological disorders, rapid breathing, fast heartbeat, low blood pressure, fever, and even death .
In mice, long-term intake of glycoalkaloids may increase the risk of cancer in the brain, lungs, breasts and thyroid .
Normally, potatoes contain only trace amounts of glycoalkaloids. A 70 kg individual would have to eat over 2 kg of potatoes (with skin) in one day to get a lethal dose.
That being said, lower amounts of potatoes may well cause adverse symptoms.
The levels of glycoalkaloids are higher in the peel and sprouts, compared to other parts of the potato. Eating potato sprouts should be avoided .
Potatoes rich in glycoalkaloids have a bitter taste and cause a burning sensation in the mouth, an effect that may be a warning sign of potential toxicity .
Potato varieties containing high amounts of glycoalkaloids (over 200 mg/kg) cannot be marketed commercially, and some varieties have been banned.
Acrylamides are contaminants formed in carbohydrate-rich foods when they are cooked at very high temperatures, such as during frying, baking, and roasting
They are found in fried, baked or roasted potatoes, but not when they are fresh, boiled or steamed
The amount of acrylamides increases with higher frying temperatures .
Toxicity to acrylamides, which are used as industrial chemicals, has been reported in people exposed to them in their work environment .
Although the amount of acrylamides in foods is generally low, it is the long-term exposure to these chemicals that some experts are worried about.
Animal studies indicate that acrylamides may increase the risk of cancer, in addition to having neurotoxic effects .
In humans, acrylamides have been classified as a possible risk factor for cancer
Numerous observational studies have investigated the effect of eating acrylamide-rich foods on the risk of cancer in humans.
Most of these studies have not detected any significant adverse effects
In contrast, a few studies have linked acrylamides with increased risk of cancer in breasts , ovaries , kidneys , mouth , and esophagus
High intake of acrylamides may have adverse health effects over time, but the extent of these effects is unclear and further studies are required.
Vitamins and Minerals
Potatoes are a good source of several vitamins and minerals, particularly potassium and vitamin C.
The levels of some vitamins and minerals are reduced with cooking, but this can be minimized by baking or boiling with the skin on.
- Potassium: The predominant mineral in potatoes, concentrated in the skin. Intake of potassium may have benefits for heart health
- Vitamin C: The main vitamin found in potatoes. Levels of vitamin C are significantly reduced with heating, but cooking potatoes in the skin appears to reduce this loss
- Folate: Concentrated in the peel, the highest concentration of folate is found in potatoes with colored flesh
- Vitamin B6: A class of B-vitamins that are involved in the formation of red blood cells. Vitamin B6 is found in most foods and deficiency is rare.
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 0.1 g||0%|
|Saturated fat 0 g||0%|
|Polyunsaturated fat 0 g|
|Monounsaturated fat 0 g|
|Cholesterol 0 mg||0%|
|Sodium 6 mg||0%|
|Potassium 421 mg||12%|
|Total Carbohydrate 17 g||5%|
|Dietary fiber 2.2 g||8%|
|Sugar 0.8 g|
|Protein 2 g||4%|
|Vitamin A||0%||Vitamin C||32%|
|Vitamin D||0%||Vitamin B-6||15%|