The potato is a starchy, tuberous crop from the perennial nightshade Solanum tuberosum. The word “potato” may refer either to the plant itself or to the edible tuber. In the Andes, where the species is indigenous, some other closely related species are cultivated. The potato was first domesticated in the region of modern-day southern Peru and extreme northwestern Bolivia between 8000 and 5000 BC. It has since spread around the world and become a staple crop in many countries.
Potato has become a staple food in many parts of the world and an integral part of much of the world’s food supply. It is the world’s fourth-largest food crop, following maize, wheat, and rice. The green leaves and green skins of tubers exposed to the light are toxic.
Potatoes are a very popular food source. Unfortunately, most people eat potatoes in the form of greasy French fries or potato chips, and even baked potatoes are typically loaded down with fats such as butter, sour cream, melted cheese and bacon bits. Such treatment can make even baked potatoes a potential contributor to a heart attack. But take away the extra fat and deep frying, and a baked potato is an exceptionally healthful low calorie, high fiber food that offers significant protection against cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Our food ranking system qualified potatoes as a very good source of vitamin B6 and a good source of potassium, copper, vitamin C, manganese, phosphorus, niacin, dietary fiber, and pantothenic acid. Potatoes also contain a variety of phytonutrients that have antioxidant activity. Among these important health-promoting compounds are carotenoids, flavonoids, and caffeic acid, as well as unique tuber storage proteins, such as patatin, which exhibit activity against free radicals.
The iron, phosphorous, calcium, magnesium, and zinc in potatoes all contribute to the building and maintenance of bone structure and strength.
Potassium, calcium, and magnesium present in the potato, have been found to naturally decrease blood pressure.
The potato’s fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6 content, coupled with its lack of cholesterol, all support heart health.
Choline is an important and versatile nutrient present in potatoes, it helps with sleep, muscle movement, learning, and memory.
Potatoes contain folate, which plays a role in DNA synthesis and repair, thus preventing the formation of cancer cells from mutations in the DNA.
Fiber content in potatoes, help to prevent constipation and promote regularity for a healthy digestive tract.
Potatoes are a great source of vitamin B6, which plays a vital role in energy metabolism by breaking down carbohydrates and proteins into glucose and amino acids.
Vitamin-C and B-complex as well as minerals like potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc are good for the skin.
Juice from potatoes is a good treatment for burns, bruises, sprains, skin problems, ulcers, effects of narcotics, prostate cancer, uterine cancer, and the formation of cysts or tumors.
Potatoes are primarily made of carbohydrates and contain very little protein. This makes it an ideal diet for those excessively lean or thin people who desperately want to put on weight.
Green potatoes are often poisonous, and so are potato leaves and fruits, as they contain alkaloids like solanine, chaconine and arsenic.
People that are obese, trying to lose weight, or diabetic should avoid eating potatoes.