Cooked potatoes are an extremely preferred constituent of various salads, side dishes, and main course meals. On the other hand, consuming raw potatoes is not much of a fad since they are typically regarded as less palatable and tough to digest.
However, no matter how you consume them, potatoes are a powerhouse of nutrients and minerals that offer energy along with boosting your overall health and wellness. Raw potatoes are a great source of starch, an essential carbohydrate that provides various health benefits.
Potatoes are one of the most consumed vegetables in the world — American consumers over 55 kg of potatoes a year. However, the consumption of fresh potatoes(1) has declined from over 22 kilograms per American in 1993 to just about 16 kilograms in 2014. Also, just around one-third of potatoes in the US are consumed fresh. About 60% of the yearly output is processed to manufacture frozen products such as starch, flakes, potato granules, chips, wedges, etc.
If you are reluctant to include raw potato in your daily diet due to its strange flavor, it’s high time you think again since you may well be missing out on several significant benefits that raw potatoes bring to the table. Walkthrough this brief post to understand the benefits of raw potatoes and how you can enjoy them like never!
Cooked Potatoes VS Raw Potatoes: Which Should You Pick?
In general, raw potatoes have a starchy texture and a slightly bitter taste that’s unappetizing to many. As a result, numerous individuals prefer roasting, grilling, frying, or baking their potatoes before consuming them.
This leads to numerous notable differences in color, texture, and taste. When you cook raw potatoes, they undergo the Maillard reaction, a chemical reaction that takes place between a reducing sugar and amino acids in the presence of heat. As such, this browning effect is accountable for the distinct crispiness, characteristic color, and flavor of the cooked potatoes.
Moreover, various studies reveal that cooking potatoes tend to produce certain specific compounds accountable for the unique flavor that makes cooked potatoes far more edible than raw ones.
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Raw Potato Nutrition Profile
Potatoes mostly catch a bad reputation due to their excessive carbohydrate content; however, they are quite beneficial. They are a great source of phosphorus, potassium, vital B vitamins, vitamin C, and fiber. The consumption of raw potatoes can quickly help you meet the daily requirements of these essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.
A mid-sized raw white potato consists of about 5 grams of fiber, which accounts for 20% of the required daily value (DV) for adults.
Vitamin C is another vital constituent of potatoes that aids in healing wounds along with improving the immunity of our body. Vitamin C also acts as a powerful antioxidant that helps prevent cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
One mid-sized raw white potato(2) provides around 40% of the daily required value (DV) for an adult. It also offers 12% of the daily value for niacin, 22% of the daily value for vitamin B6, and 10% of the daily value for thiamin.
All B vitamins work in unison to enhance the metabolism of your body, facilitate red blood cell formation, and boost energy production. A mid-sized raw potato also offers about 13% of phosphorus’s DV and 20% of potassium’s DV. Potassium stimulates nerve transmission as well as muscle contraction along with balancing sodium in your body.
Phosphorus also supports calcium to build and maintain healthy bones. Potatoes also consist of several health-stimulating phytochemicals, including anthocyanins, carotenoids, phenolics, and flavonoids. These robust substances fight with free radicals and tend to damage healthy cells along with causing several critical diseases.
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What Does Cooking Do to Raw Potatoes?
Cooking changes the nutritional composition of almost all foods. The amount of alteration caused depends upon several factors such as cooking methods, temperature, etc. Cooking also changes the gross weight of food and, therefore, comparing the USDA nutritional profiles of cooked versus raw potatoes won’t provide a clear picture of the dietary changes that potatoes undergo.
Also, B vitamins and vitamin C, which are water-soluble, are highly susceptible to losses when potatoes (or any other food in general) are cooked. Depending upon the method of cooking, up to 55% of vitamin C constituents can be lost. Also, when you boil potatoes, the B vitamins can quickly drain away in the cooking water itself.
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Raw Potato Benefits
Is raw potato good for your health? If this is the next question running on your mind, read on the list below to find out.
1. Reduces Inflammation
Potatoes have powerful anti-inflammatory properties and are, therefore, extremely useful in soothing duodenum and stomach ulcers. Also, they are also known to reduce inflammation caused by arthritis.
2. Regulates Blood Pressure
Despite having high calories and carbohydrate content, potatoes are incredibly beneficial for individuals with water retention and high blood pressure because they balance high sodium levels. Moreover, potatoes are also a good source of anthocyanins and chlorogenic acid, chemicals that aid in lowering blood pressure.
[Also Read: Reduce Blood Pressure Naturally]
3. Relaxing Properties
In general, potatoes, particularly their white flesh, is an extremely vital source of tryptophan, an amino acid having natural sedative characteristics that help calm your nerves.
4. Enhancing Cardiovascular Health
Potatoes have zero cholesterol and are a great source of antioxidant anthocyanins that possess great heart-healing properties. Also, potatoes contain vitamin B6 and C, potassium, and fiber – all of which support heart health.
5. Improves Brain Health
Potatoes are rich in alpha-lipoic acid, B complex vitamins, phosphorus, and zinc and, therefore, helps enhance brain functioning and overall cognitive health. As a result, it helps to maintain sound neurological health and is known to be beneficial for Alzheimer’s patients.
6. Promotes Digestion
Potatoes are good for your gut. Potatoes are a high-fiber food and, therefore, they help keep your digestive system running smoothly. Fiber aids in digestion along with promoting bowel regularity by providing bulk to your stool. Also, the potassium content in potatoes aids in quick recovery from diarrhea.
7. Promotes Sleep
Potatoes are a great source of Tryptophan, a natural sedative known to promote good sleep. Besides, the potassium in potatoes serves as a potent muscle relaxant, which facilitates sound relaxation.
8. Relieves Premenstrual Symptoms
Several studies have claimed that the juice of potato works wonders to improve the symptoms of Premenstrual syndrome. The high carbohydrate content found in potatoes helps increase the tryptophan level in your body, which further enhances the production of serotonin, the happiness hormone. Maintaining high levels of serotonin helps reduce anxiety and improve your mood.
9. Helps maintain healthy bones
Extremely rich in phosphorus and calcium, potatoes are great to keep a good bone mineral density. Several other vitamins and minerals found in potatoes, including phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, calcium, and iron, helps build and maintain strong bones.
10. Good for skin
Potatoes contain powerful collagen-boosting properties. A potato mask can come in handy to help cure acne and several other skin conditions such as blemishes and dark spots.
Resistant Starch of Raw Potatoes: Pros and Cons
Raw potatoes are a great source of resistant starch that is mostly reduced upon cooking raw potatoes. Like fiber, our body does not absorb or digest resistant starch. As such, resistant starch serves as a potent prebiotic, i.e., a great and rich source for our gut bacteria – thence proving extremely beneficial for our health.
While resistant starch has several benefits, it can lead to mild digestive distress. Though feeding our gut bacteria is beneficial for our health, it can lead to uncomfortable gas and bloating, somewhat like the effect of beans.
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Apart from digestive distress caused by resistant starch, raw potatoes are likely to harbor bacteria and contaminants from the soil that are mainly eliminated by cooking, thence increasing your odds of falling prey to foodborne infections and illnesses.
The most appropriate way to mitigate the negative symptoms likely to be caused by potatoes is to increase your consumption gradually over several days, maybe weeks and cut back in case you start to experience some adverse impacts of consuming raw potatoes.
Raw potatoes may also increase the risk of contamination by potential pathogens and, therefore, you must ensure that you peel the potatoes before intake.
Raw potatoes can lead to several digestive issues and may well contain a large number of harmful compounds and anti-nutrients. But then, they are a great source of resistant starch and vitamin C, which offer significant health benefits.
Therefore, it makes sense to enjoy both cooked and raw potatoes in moderation. Ensure you follow basic food safety and healthy cooking methods to minimize the adverse effects of this great vegetable.
1. Is Raw Potato Juice Poisonous?
Yes, sometimes they tend to be poisonous, however, this is in the case of potatoes who have sprouted buds, which consists of solanine. Hence, if not consumed moderation, raw potatoes tend to cause digestive issues.
2. Is Eating Potatoes Everyday Bad for You?
Yes, as potatoes are basically starch, eating them daily puts your body under tremendous pressure and tends to increase the risk of high blood pressure.
3. How Many Potatoes Should I Eat a Day?
It is strongly recommended that you have around 0.5-0.9 kilograms of potatoes in a day, also, this should be done 2-3 times in a week and not more than that.