Potato health benefits and therapeutic value

Native to South America, potato or Solanum tuberosum is a perennial plant that boasts many health benefits and has a high therapeutic value.

It is one of the most eaten vegetables in Europe, and the favorite of Americans and French alike: we eat over 65 lbs (30 kg) a year per person!

Potato and its health benefits for the body

With high levels of carbohydrates, potassium, magnesium and also fiber, potato is considered to be a wholesome vegetable and contributes to a healthy and varied diet. It contains an impressive quantity of vitamins and minerals that support our body’s health.

  • Potassium-rich when boiled in water, potato is diuretic and added to the diet of persons with cardiac disorders.
  • Baked in the oven, potato keeps high vitamin C levels, which makes it the queen of our winter vegetables. It has been used for its anti-scurvy properties (scurvy is a disease that is due to shortage of vitamin C in nutrition).
  • Steamed potato is an ideal staple food for sports fans because it provides the necessary energy in the long run, and the potassium and magnesium that it contains play a part in muscle cell contraction.
  • Although many people tend to think otherwise, potato is a dietary food that nourishes without adding fat and can be added to a hypocaloric (low-calorie) diet. Unless eaten as French fries and hash-browns, of course!
  • Potato also soothes gastric pain. If you suffer from gastric ulcers, it will help knowing that juice extracted from the raw potato will soothe your pain and will help the ulcer to heal in that it lowers stomach acid.
  • Certain naturopathic physicians recommend raw potato in topical use to treat daily bothers: contusions, light burn wounds, headaches, back and joint pain.

Growing potato for its health benefits

Potatoes need sun but don’t do too well in excessively hot locations. They will thrive in light, humus-rich soil. What is ideal is good garden soil, rich and well drained, but cook with neutral pH. Chalky or limestone soil makes them more vulnerable to diseases.

There are over 120 different potato cultivars, even though the top 30 account for over 90% of the production. Size, shape, time to harvest, firm or mealy flesh are characteristics that distinguish one potato from the next.

The most flavorful cultivars are perhaps the pink-flesh potato varieties, but they are less productive than yellow-flesh varieties.

Potato in cooking for its health benefits

potato-health-benefitsSteamed, boiled, baked, mashed or in salads, potatoes are always eaten cooked!

If you like steamed potatoes, the most delicious are potatoes harvested when still young and small.

To succeed in making your mashed potatoes, soups and oven-baked potatoes, go for more mature harvests.

And for fries, potatoes with firm firm flesh are the best: ‘Charlotte’, ‘Samba’ or ‘Bintje’.

The more colored the potato’s flesh, the more health benefits they bring: blue, purple, yellow or red flesh varieties are particularly interesting thanks to their exceptionally high antioxidant yield.

Nutritional content

75 kcal / 3.5 oz (100 g). Potatoes contain a lot of magnesium, fiber and potassium which brings on many health benefits. They also contain high vitamin E, B1, B6 and C and starch levels. Potato is considered a source of complex carbohydrates, one of the best, since the body transforms it very well without going through the usual storage phase in fatty cells that it does for refined sugar.