March 20, 2017

Hmm... Interesting... I Had No Idea! Did You Know That Potatoes Have Loads Of Essential Health Benefits? And A Sack Of Potatoes Doesn't Cost Much. Answer To World Hunger And Sickness.

written by George Mateljan
[source: The World's Healthiest Foods]

Whether mashed, baked or roasted, people often consider potatoes as comfort food. It is an important food staple and the number one vegetable crop in the world. Potatoes are available year-round as they are harvested somewhere every month of the year.

The potato belongs to the Solanaceae or nightshade family whose other members include tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and tomatillos. They are the swollen portion of the underground stem which is called a tuber and is designed to provide food for the green leafy portion of the plant. If allowed to flower and fruit, the potato plant will bear an inedible fruit resembling a tomato.

Health Benefits

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.

Blood-Pressure Lowering Potential of Potatoes

UK scientists at the Institute for Food Research have identified blood pressure-lowering compounds called kukoamines in potatoes. Previously only found in Lycium chinense, an exotic herbal plant whose bark is used to make an infusion in Chinese herbal medicine, kukoamines were found in potatoes using a new type of research called metabolomics.

Until now, when analyzing a plant's composition, scientists had to know what they were seeking and could typically look for 30 or so known compounds. Now, metabolomic techniques enable researchers to find the unexpected by analyzing the 100s or even 1000s of small molecules produced by an organism.

"Potatoes have been cultivated for thousands of years, and we thought traditional crops were pretty well understood," said IFR food scientist Dr Fred Mellon, "but this surprise finding shows that even the most familiar of foods might conceal a hoard of health-promoting chemicals." Another good reason to center your diet around the World's Healthiest Foods!

In addition to potatoes, researchers looked at tomatoes since they belong to the same plant family—Solanaceae—as Lycium chinense. Metabolomic assays also detected kukoamine compounds in tomatoes.

The IFR scientists found higher levels of kukoamines and related compounds than some of the other compounds in potatoes that have a long history of scientific investigation. However, because they were previously only noted in Lycium chinense, kukoamines have been little studied. Researchers are now determining their stability during cooking and dose response (how much of these compounds are needed to impact health).

Vitamin B6—Building Your Cells

If only for its high concentration of vitamin B6—1 medium potato contains over one-half of a milligram of this important nutrient—the potato earns high marks as a health-promoting food.

Vitamin B6 is involved in more than 100 enzymatic reactions. Enzymes are proteins that help chemical reactions take place, so vitamin B6 is active virtually everywhere in the body. Many of the building blocks of protein, amino acids, require B6 for their synthesis, as do the nucleic acids used in the creation of our DNA. Because amino and nucleic acids are such critical parts of new cell formation, vitamin B6 is essential for the formation of virtually all new cells in the body. Heme (the protein center of our red blood cells) and phospholipids (cell membrane components that enable messaging between cells) also depend on vitamin B6 for their creation.

Potatoes are Rich in Vitamin B6—Brain Cell and Nervous System Activity

Vitamin B6 plays numerous roles in our nervous system, many of which involve neurological (brain cell) activity. B6 is necessary for the creation of amines, a type of messaging molecule or neurotransmitter that the nervous system relies on to transmit messages from one nerve to the next. Some of the amine-derived neurotransmitters that require vitamin B6 for their production are serotonin, a lack of which is linked to depression; melatonin, the hormone needed for a good night's sleep; epinephrine and norepinephrine, hormones that help us respond to stress; and GABA, which is needed for normal brain function.

Potatoes are Rich in Vitamin B6—Cardiovascular Protection

Vitamin B6 plays another critically important role in methylation, a chemical process in which methyl groups are transferred from one molecule to another. Many essential chemical events in the body are made possible by methylation, for example, genes can be switched on and turned off in this way. This is particularly important in cancer prevention since one of the genes that can be switched on and off is the tumor suppressor gene, p53. Another way that methylation helps prevent cancer is by attaching methyl groups to toxic substances to make them less toxic and encourage their elimination from the body.

Methylation is also important to cardiovascular health. Methylation changes a potentially dangerous molecule called homocysteine into other, benign substances. Since homocysteine can directly damage blood vessel walls greatly increasing the progression of atherosclerosis, high homocysteine levels are associated with a significantly increased risk for heart attack and stroke. Eating foods rich in vitamin B6 can help keep homocysteine levels low. In addition, diets high in vitamin B6-rich foods are associated with overall lower rates of heart disease, even when homocysteine levels are normal, most likely because of all the other beneficial activities of this energetic B vitamin.

A single baked potato will also provide you with over 3 grams of fiber, but remember the fiber in potatoes is mostly in their skin. If you want the cholesterol-lowering, colon cancer preventing, and bowel supportive effects of fiber, be sure to eat the potato's flavorful skin as well as its creamy center.

Potatoes are Rich in Vitamin B6—Athletic Performance

Vitamin B6 is also necessary for the breakdown of glycogen, the form in which sugar is stored in our muscle cells and liver, so this vitamin is a key player in athletic performance and endurance.
written by Dash Eva

Potatoes underwent low popularity for many years, suffering from an unfavorable reputation as food source rich in carbohydrates. More recently, scientific studies have revealed that potatoes should not be shunned. They should be embraced instead for offering a rich source of minerals including phosphorus, calcium and zinc, as well as B6, B, and C vitamins. The glycoprotein patatin is also found in spuds. These lipolytic enzymes can aid in everyday health by decreasing high blood pressure and effectively working as an antioxidant.

Why Potatoes?

Even though potatoes have sustained a somewhat tainted reputation, they are still one of the most-often used ingredients in recipes spanning breakfast through lunch and they have a vast health benefits, which are listed below:

1. Positive Effect on Diabetes

Those with diabetes are always worried about raising blood glucose levels and so they avoid potatoes’ natural sugar content. In fact, avoidance isn’t necessary, but portion control is. Carbohydrates can be a healthy part of any diabetic meal plan when incorporated in correct portions. Talk to a doctor about managing diabetes through ideal servings.

2. Enhance General Health

The common thought is potatoes cause weight gain yet their caloric value is actually fairly low making them a good choice for meals. Potatoes also provide sustenance so feelings of hunger are averted for longer periods. They also provide a decrease in cholesterol levels because they are half soluble and half insoluble.

3. Remedy Bruising

For centuries, potatoes have been used for treating sprains, bruises, ulcers, and even burns, aiding in the healing process. They can also reduce the onset of skin ailments and the effects of narcotics. Studies have shown that potatoes are part of a group of cancer-fighting foods used to fight cancer of the uterus and prostate.

4. Relieve Stress

Stress on the body and mind can be eased by ingesting potatoes; cellular renewal is boosted by the rich source of vitamin B6 in potatoes. The creation of adrenaline hormones, which aid in fighting stress, is just one major benefit. They also produce GABA (Gamma Amino Butyric Acid), a hormone that can also reduce stress and help the brain ready itself for relaxation or sleep.

5. Diminish Inflammation

Those who suffer from chronic internal or external inflammation can reap the benefits potatoes provide for this ailment. The make-up of a soft, baked potato is easily digestible, alleviating the digestive system from irritation. To ease any external inflammation, simply rub a raw potato on the affected area(s) including any ulcers that may be found in the mouth.

6. Improve Brain Functions

Day to day activities and general health can be influenced greatly by adding potatoes into your diet. The high amounts of copper and iron, also known for boosting brain activity, are an added benefit. Preparing a baked potato and eating it, skin and all and without salt, can lead to an improved memory. Manganese, potassium, and vitamin B6 and C are each known to assist in functions of the brain while nerve centers respond positively to the fatty acids and amino acids found in potatoes.

7. Alleviate Kidney Stones

Raised uric acid levels in the blood is the main contributor of kidney stones. The hard masses of calcium crystals in urine can create painful stones that are excruciating to pass. Those suffering from kidney stones can find many extra benefits from ingesting the entire potato peel, a rich source of such relieving nutrients as alkaline salts and the aforementioned copper, manganese, potassium, and B-vitamins.

8. High Fiber Content

Eating high-fiber foods can be one of the best ways to achieve weight-loss success. Potatoes are a top high-fiber food and one of the best ingredients to use in moderation. While potatoes can be beneficial to your health, preparing them in a healthy way is crucial. Baking them is one of the best ways to reap all the nutritional benefits.

9. Keep Diseases at Bay

Decrease the risks of cancer, aid digestion, combat heart disease, and avoid common disorders in the nervous system, all by eating potatoes.

10. Treat Your Skin

Treating skin ailments with potatoes is an inexpensive and natural way to look your best. Try a potato juice facial by topically applying it, or use sliced potatoes on eyelids to reduce the appearance of dark circles and swelling.

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