Did you know the lowly potato can help you overcome serious health problems? They aren’t your traditional health food though. Many nutritionists warn against them because they’ re so starchy and loaded with carbohydrates. However, they’ re also loaded with nutrients that help your body function properly. Even people following a low-carb diet can enjoy them.
If you’re a health nut, or even if you’re just mildly curious, here are five reasons you should put a potato on your plate tonight.
1) It Regulates Blood Pressure
Most people eat bananas for potassium, but potatoes are higher in this nutrient. Potassium is an electrolyte, and one of the most important salts your body needs. It regulates muscle contraction, making it vital for your heart. Some studies also show potassium helps lower blood pressure in those who are deficient.
UK scientists at the Institute for Food Research also found important compounds in potatoes that lower blood pressure. These compounds, called kukoamines, were once thought to exist only in a rare Chinese herb.
2) It Feeds Your Gut Bacteria
There’s been a lot of research done on the gut and bacteria in recent years Most of it shows we need a certain balance of friendly bacteria to maintain optimal health. This is problematic in our hectic modern life because stress, poor food, and poor lifestyle choices have a negative impact on these friendly bacteria.
Most people turn to probiotics. However, there may be a simpler and less expensive solution to the problem: the potato.
Recent research has shown a special type of starch, called resistant starch, is capable of feeding friendly bacteria in the gut. Potatoes are loaded with resistant starch when prepared in a specific way. You have to cook them and then rapidly cool them for resistant starch to form. Pile on the potato glad.
3) It May Prevent Cancer
Sweet potatoes get their orange color from beta-carotene. The darker the color, the higher the content. Beta-carotene turns on a gene that encourages your body’s cells to communicate with one another. What do they”talk” about? They “listen” to their neighbors to see whether there’s any cancer in the “neighborhood.” Cancer cells don’t communicate in the same way healthy cells do. Consider them antisocial.
Studies at the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii have shown that getting your cells to “talk” sends growth-inhibiting signals to abnormal and potentially cancerous cells. So, eat your sweet potatoes and you may be reducing your risk of cancen
4) It Helps Prevent Bone Loss
All varieties of potatoes contain a high concentration of manganese. In a Spanish study, researchers showed this mineral on its own prevented bone loss in rats.
5) It Supports Your Brain Cell and Nervous System
Potatoes are one of the riches sources of vitamin B6, which your body’s neurological activity depends on. It’s necessary for the creation of amines, which are messenger molecules (neurotransmitters) for the nervous system. Some of these neurotransmitters that rely on B6 include serotonin, melatonin, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and GABA.
A lack of serotonin is linked to depression. Melatonin helps you regulate your body’s natural sleep/wake cycle. Epinephrine and norepinephrine are stress hormones that help you regulate stress, while GABA helps your brain function normally.
Don’t be afraid of the lowly potato. It packs so much nutrition that, if you skip it, you will be missing out on real life-saving nutrients Whether it’s potato salad,
mashed potatoes, baked potato with sour cream, or home made potato chips or fries, eat up. They’re good for you.