Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Potato: Far From a Devil's Food {Health Benefits of Potato}

The potato's stereotyped as a fattening food for health-conscious folks to avoid is getting another revision as scientists report that just a couple servings of spuds a day reduces blood pressure almost as much as oatmeal without causing weight gain. When prepared without frying and served without butter, margarine or sour cream, one potato has only 110 calories and dozens of healthful phytochemicals and vitamins.

A recent research found that eating potatoes was not accompanied by changes in body weight, blood fats (lipids) or glucose levels (HbA1c), but resulted in lower blood pressure: the diastolic (the lower reading of a conventional blood pressure reading such as 120/80) went down by a significant 4.3%, and systolic by 3.5%. The blood pressure went down in spite of the fact 14 of the 18 participants were also on blood pressure medication. The researchers concluded that purple potatoes are an effective agent for lowering blood pressure and thereby lower the risk of heart disease and stroke in patients with high blood pressure. Although researchers used purple potatoes, they believe that red-skin potatoes and white potatoes may have similar effects.

Eating a potato, or any type of carbohydrate rich food, won’t automatically make you fatter. However, if you are watching your weight, enjoy potatoes in moderate quantities.

Health Benefits of Potato
Potatoes are filling, moderate in calories, and non-fattening, and are an excellent way to ensure your continued success in eating healthy. Here we reveal the surprising health benefits of the humble spud.

Health Benefits of Potato
Potatoes are nutrient-dense, meaning you receive many nutrients for the amount of calories they have. The fiber is half soluble, half insoluble, so it helps to keep you regular and helps to lower cholesterol. And slowing down digestion helps to keep you full longer. Phytochemicals in potatoes include flavanoids and a recently identified compound called kukoamine that appears to help lower blood pressure.

White potatoes have just about every nutrient. One baked potato offers about 20 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin B6, which is good news for your heart. They are also very high in potassium, beating other potassium-rich foods. They are a good source of iron and copper, too. In fact, a potato a day is good for your heart, promoting normal blood-pressure levels.

Potatoes are exceedingly rich in Vitamin B6, a substance needed for cellular renewal, a healthy nervous system and a balanced mood. Just 100g of baked potato contains 21 per cent of the daily value of the vitamin. It is used to make neurotransmitters --substances that deliver messages from one cell to the next. Neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine are needed for the regulation of mood and Vitamin B6 is needed to make them. It is also used to make adrenaline, hormones that help us respond to stress.

Unfortunately for French fry and potato chip fans, those high cooking temperatures seem to destroy most of the healthy substances in a potato, leaving mainly starch, fat and minerals.

The Los Angeles Times published, the following information in the article, Weight gain: What is it about potatoes?
? A medium size of McDonald’s French fries (because who gets a small order?) has 380 calories, 19 grams of fat and 48 grams of carbohydrates.

? A 1.5-ounce bag of Classic Lays has 225 calories, 15 grams of fat and 23 grams of carbohydrates.

? Half a cup (repeat, half a cup) of the classic breakfast food hash browns has 235 calories, 16 grams of fat and 23 grams of carbohydrates.

? Even the relatively healthier medium baked potato has about 160 calories, less than 1 gram of fat and about 37 grams of carbohydrates. That’s without adornments -- and yes, butter counts as an adornment, not a must-have.

Cut out the extra fat and deep frying, and a typical baked potato suddenly becomes a healthy high-fibre food.