Potato nutrition facts
Potato, nutritionally rich tuberous root vegetable, is a good source of starch and fiber. It is one of the most widely grown perennial crops and is one of the low cost staple food items of the poor population all over the world. Botanically, it belongs to the various perennial subspecies of Solanum tuberosum of the Solanaceae family.
The plant grows about 12 to 18 inches in length and bears many tubers underground. The tubers usually have round to oval or oblong shape and vary widely in size. Internally, the flesh features bright cream-white, rose red or russet color depending on the variety with moist texture and have special buttery "potato" flavor.
Some of the popular cultivars are:-
White/yellow skin and flesh - Yukan gold, Yellow finn, Russian banana, Milva.
Red skin and flesh - Ida rose, Norland, Cal red, French fingerling.
- Russet skin and flesh - Russet burbank, Ranger russet, Utamilla russet.
Health benefits of Potato
Potatoes are one of the richest sources of starch, vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber. Contains very low fat (just 0.1 g per100 g) and no cholesterol.
Both soluble and insoluble fiber in them increases the bulk of the stool, thus, it helps prevent constipation, decrease absorption of dietary cholesterol and there by lower plasma LDL cholesterol. Additionally, the rich fiber content also helps protect from colon cancer.
The fiber content helps slow absorption of starch in the gut and thereby keeping blood sugar levels within normal range. For the same reason, potato is still favored source of carbohydrates in diabetics.
The tubers are one of the richest sources of B-complex group of vitamins such as Vitamin B6, Niacin, Pantothenic acid and folates.
Fresh potato skin as well as flesh are good source of antioxidant vitamin; vitamin-C. Regular consumption of foods rich in vitamin-C helps body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals.
They also contain adequate amounts of many essential minerals like Iron, manganese, copper and potassium.
Red and russet potatoes contain good amount vitamin A, and flavonoids like carotenes and zeaxanthins.
Recent studies at Agricultural research service (by plant genetics scientist Roy Navarre) suggests that flavonoid antioxidant, quercetin present in potatoes has anti-cancer and cardio-protective properties.
|Principle||Nutrient Value||Percentage of RDA|
|Total Fat||0.10 g||0.5%|
|Dietary Fiber||2.5 g||7%|
|Pantothenic acid||0.279 mg||6%|
|Vitamin A||7 IU||<1%|
|Vitamin C||11.4 mg||20%|
|Vitamin K||2.9 mcg||2.5%|
Selection and storage
Fresh potatoes are readily available in the stores. Look for tubers that feature firm in texture and have smooth waxy instead of dry surface. They normally have numerous "eyes" on their surface. Avoid those that feature soft in hand, have slumpy appearance, with cuts and bruises.
Oftentimes, you may come across greenish discoloration with sprouts over their surface. Do not buy them since they indicate that the stock is old and formation of toxic alkaloid solanine.
At home, they should be stored in cool, dry and dark place. Exposure to sunlight and excess moisture will cause potatoes to sprout and to form toxic alkaloid solanine.
Being a root vegetable they often subjected to infestation and therefore wash them thoroughly before cooking.
Potato dishes are prepared in many ways:
- Skin-on or peeled, whole or cut up, with seasonings or without.
- Mashed potatoes- first boiled and peeled, and then mashed with milk or yogurt and butter.
- Whole baked, boiled or steamed.
- French-fried potatoes or chips.
- Cut into cubes and roasted; scalloped, diced, or sliced and fried.
- Grated and formed into dumpling potato pancakes.
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