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7 reasons potatoes or aaloo are great for your health

Potatoes or aaloo are loaded with antioxidants and Vitamin B6 making it a great food to include in your diet.

Written by Sameer Jha |Updated : January 23, 2015 1:15 PM IST

Potatoes or aaloo can be considered as the second most important food crop in India after rice and wheat. Although they have gained a bad reputation in the dietary world over the years for their link ups with obesity and lifestyle disorders, they remain one of the most easily available energy and nutrient rich foods in local markets. Here are some reasons you should stop avoiding potatoes.

1# Offers instant energy: Potatoes are rich source of carbohydrates yet less in calories compared to other staple foods like pasta and rice. In fact, carbohydrates account for more than 95% potatoes by weight. Besides, it is also rich in protein and the quality of proteins in them is found to be higher than any other heavily consumed plant protein [1].

2# Keeps cancer at bay: There has been an increasing concern regarding cancer risk and consumption of potatoes. While it's the fried form of potatoes that actually ups cancer risk among individuals, other cooked forms of potatoes can help you lower you risk of cancer. Potatoes are rich in phytonutrients, carotenoids and flavonoids which are antioxidants that prevent cellular damage caused by free radicals. A study revealed that certain components in potato extract can induce death of prostate cancer cells, inhibit their proliferation due to the presence of dietary polyphenols, including phenolic acids and anthocyanins in them [2].

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3# Helps build new cells: Potatoes are an extremely rich source of vitamin B6 that helps build new cells in your body. The reason behind this is that Vitamin B6 is essential to the synthesis of amino acids and nucleic acid in your body, which in turn helps your body build new cells.

4# Prevents heart disease: Almost 70 % of the urban Indian population is at risk of heart disease. Flavonoids present in potatoes helps lower bad cholesterol levels and prevents plaque build-up in your arteries. Additionally, Vitamin B6 helps in reducing levels of a molecule called homocysteine which can lead to inflammation of your arteries. A study pointed out that consumption of potatoes lowers blood pressure, improves lipid profiles as well as decreases markers of inflammation, thereby improving cardiometabolic health [3].

5# May help weight loss: A study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research suggested that potatoes can restrict weight gain when they are included in a fat and refined food rich diet. The study attributes this ability of potatoes to the presence of polyphenolic compounds that activates the enzyme AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) to initiate breakdown of sugar at a faster rate. This helps boosting metabolism and preventing weight gain.

6# Fights stress: Stress is an extremely common phenomenon found in today s urban population. Potatoes contain Vitamin B6 which aid in the formation of hormones like serotonin, dopamine and adrenaline which regulate your mood. Vitamin B6 also helps in the formation of neurotransmitters and are extremely important for a healthy nervous system.

7# Prevents early ageing: Antioxidants present in potatoes can help delay the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines which is caused due to free radical damage. Also, potatoes can be used to remove dark spots and even skin tone.

Image source: Getty images

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  1. King JC, Slavin JL. White Potatoes, Human Health, and Dietary Guidance. Advances in Nutrition 2013;4(3):393S-401S. doi:10.3945/an.112.003525.
  2. Reddivari L, Vanamala J, Chintharlapalli S, Safe SH, Miller JC Jr. Anthocyanin fraction from potato extracts is cytotoxic to prostate cancer cells through activation of caspase-dependent and caspase-independent pathways. Carcinogenesis. 2007 Oct;28(10):2227-35. Epub 2007 May 23. PubMed PMID: 17522067.
  3. McGill CR, Kurilich AC, Davignon J. The role of potatoes and potato components in cardiometabolic health: a review. Ann Med. 2013 Nov;45(7):467-73. doi: 10.3109/07853890.2013.813633. Epub 2013 Jul 15. Review. PubMed PMID: 23855880.

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