Carbohydrates & StarchesPotatoes are starchy vegetables, but many consumers have omitted or unnecessarily restricted starch, one of the four basic types of carbohydrates (the three others are dietary fiber, sugar, and refined sugar). But starch is a part of a balanced diet. Some varieties of potatoes have more starch than others. Russets, for example, rank high in starch, whereas red skinned ones have less starch.
Dietary FiberAn average serving of potatoes provides about 10% of a desirable daily intake of fiber. A baked potato in its skin contains more fiber than 2 slices of wholemeal bread. Today too much of the food we eat is processed and refined. Most of the natural fibre in the ingredients is discarded well before your mealtime. The substantial fibre you get from potatoes promotes good digestion and helps manage your body weight. It may also decrease your risk of colon cancer. It reduces existing cholesterol levels, as well as helping to reduce the risk of heart disease.
ProteinThe protein content in potatoes is fairly high quality with an amino acid pattern that is well matched to human requirements. According to the FAO’s Nutrition and Consumer Protection division, potatoes are similar to cereals in protein content.
Vitamin B6One potato has 20% of the daily requirements for Vitamin B6. Its integral role in the nervous system contributes to mood elevation, better sleep, and normal brain function. It plays a critical role in methylation (the way we control our genes) leads to increased cardiovascular health, and it is essential for the formation of the virtually all new cells in the body. Frequent Vitamin B6 intake is really important because it is regularly excreted from the body.
PotassiumThe average consumer does not realize the fact that potatoes are a good source of Potassium. Potatoes contain more potassium than a Banana. Potatoes rank highest for potassium content among the top 20 most frequently consumed raw vegetables and the top 20 most frequently consumed raw fruits. One medium potato (5.3 ounces) with the skin contains 620mg of potassium. That is 18% of your daily requirement!
AntioxidantsRecent studies have identified numerous phenols and flavonoids in the skin and flesh of potatoes that protect against respiratory problems, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers. Researchers even found two compounds, quercetin and the rare kukomines (types of antioxidants), the latter of which is found elsewhere only in goji berries.
Copper & ZincZinc helps the body to reach sexual maturity and aids the repair of damaged tissue. Without copper the iron in your body cannot properly form red blood cells, and that leads to anaemia. Potatoes contain a small amount of your daily requirements for copper and Zinc.
Vitamin CPotatoes are one of the leading sources of vitamin C in the North American diet. One potato serving has 25% of the daily requirements for Vitamin C. The benefits of Vitamin C are widely known, ranging from boosting the immune system to combating cancer to contributing to heart health. Vitamin C promotes the growth and maintenance of bones, teeth, skin, and red blood cells, help repair tissues and helps the body resist stress and infection. It is believed to prevent cardiovascular disease, lower cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, fight allergies and asthma, and aid symptoms of all sorts of diseases from diabetes to osteoporosis.
IronIron is a mineral that is hard to get in sufficient amounts and is lacking in many diets, particularly those of women, teenage girls and young children. The Potato is a moderate source of iron but due to the high vitamin C content it is a good source. Vitamin C promotes Iron absorption.
Folic Acid (Folate)Folate is an essential nutrient, particularly for young women. Boiled new potatoes in their skins (175g portion) provide 33mcg (9%) of your Recommended Daily Allowance of folate. Folate is one of the B vitamins used by your body. Folate is used to make red blood cells and important proteins like DNA. Getting enough folate is especially important during growth spurts and during pregnancy. Getting enough folate lessens your chance of having a baby with a neural tube defect. Neural tube defects (NTDs) are a type of birth defect that involve the brain and spinal cord and can cause serious lifelong problems for a baby. We now know that getting enough folate during the childbearing years is one of the best ways to lower your chances of having a baby with a neural tube defect. Even if you are not pregnant now, and do not plan to be pregnant soon, it’s never too early to start thinking about getting enough folate. Folate is measured in micrograms (mcg). For women of childbearing age, the recommendation is 400 micrograms of folate daily. Potatoes, green leafy vegetables, some citrus fruits and certain beans are rich sources of folate.
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