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A high intake of fruits and vegetables can benefit health and reduce the risk of many lifestyle-related health conditions.
Potatoes contain important nutrients, even when cooked, that can benefit human health in various ways.
Here we look at 10 ways in which the potato might contribute to a healthful lifestyle, including preventing osteoporosis, maintaining heart health, and reducing the risk of infection.
1) Bone health
The iron, phosphorous, calcium, magnesium, and zinc in potatoes all help the body to build and maintain bone structure and strength.
Iron and zinc play crucial roles in the production and maturation of collagen.
Phosphorus and calcium are both important in bone structure, but it is essential to balance the two minerals for proper bone mineralization. Too much phosphorus and too little calcium result in bone loss and contribute to osteoporosis.
2) Blood pressure
A low sodium intake is essential for maintaining a healthy blood pressure, but increasing potassiumintake may be just as important. Potassium encourages vasodilation, or the widening of the blood vessels.
According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), fewer than 2 percentof American adults meet the daily 4,700-milligram recommendation.
Potassium, calcium, and magnesium are all present in the potato. These have been found to decrease blood pressure naturally.
3) Heart health
The potato’s fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6 content, coupled with its lack of cholesterol, all support heart health.
Potatoes contain significant amounts of fiber. Fiber helps lower the total amount of cholesterol in the blood, thereby decreasing the risk of heart disease.
Research based on the NHANES has linked a higher intake of potassium and a lower intake of sodium to a reduced risk of all-cause mortality and heart disease.
Choline is an important and versatile nutrient that is present in potatoes. It helps with muscle movement, mood, learning, and memory.
It also assists in:
- maintaining the structure of cellular membranes
- transmitting nerve impulses
- the absorption of fat
- early brain development
One large potato contains 57 mg of choline. Adult males need 550 mg, and females 425 mg a day.
Potatoes contain folate. Folate plays a role in DNA synthesis and repair, and so it prevents many types of cancer cells from forming due to mutations in the DNA.
Fiber intake from fruits and vegetables like potatoes are associated with a lowered risk of colorectal cancer.
Vitamin C and quercetin also function as antioxidants, protecting cells against damage from free radicals.
6) Digestion and regularity
The fiber content in potatoes helps prevent constipation and promote regularity for a healthy digestive tract.
7) Weight management and satiety
Dietary fibers are commonly recognized as important factors in weight management and weight loss.
They act as “bulking agents” in the digestive system. They increase satiety and reduce appetite, so a person feels fuller for longer and is less likely to consume more calories.
Potatoes are a great source of vitamin B6. This plays a vital role in energy metabolism, by breaking down carbohydrates and proteins into glucose and amino acids. These smaller compounds are more easily utilized for energy within the body.
Collagen is the skin’s support system. Vitamin C works as an antioxidant to help prevent damage caused by the sun, pollution, and smoke. Vitamin C also helps collagen smooth wrinkles and improve overall skin texture.
Research has found that vitamin C may help reduce the severity and duration of a cold. Potatoes are a good source of vitamin C.