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Health Benefits of Potatoes ‘Aloo’

Said to find its origin in South Americas, Potato ‘Aalu’ or ‘Aloo’ as it is known in Hindi, was brought to India by the Portuguese sometime in the 17th Century. 

Though traditionally not a part of the Indian palette, potato ‘aalu’ have become an integral part of Indian Kitchen. In fact, a recent survey suggested that 51% Indians consume potatoes in some form or the other, everyday.

Potato, commonly known as ‘Aloo’ in Hindi appears in a variety of shapes, colours, and sizes. The skin color varies from brownish white to deep purple. The starchy flesh of aloo ranges in color from white to yellow. 

Nutritional facts of Potato

As per the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database, 100 gm of boiled peeled potato contains 77 kcal, 1.8 gm of proteins, 1.2 gm of fiber, 17 gm of carbohydrates, 0.1 gm of fats, 280 mg of potassium, 0.4 mg of iron, 0.18 mg of vitamin B1, 0.33 mg of vitamin B6, 19 µg of folates and 6mg of vitamin C.

Potential Health Benefits of Potatoes

1/5. Promotes Digestion

1. Potatoes are rich in fibre which aids in smooth digestion. 

2. The fiber content promotes regularity of the bowel by adding bulk to the stool. 

3. The resistant starch in aloo acts as a prebiotic which enhances gut health. Resistant starch also helps prevent irritable bowel syndrome and constipation. 

2/5. Regulates Blood Pressure

1. Lack of potassium in the diet results in retention of extra sodium which leads to a raise in blood pressure. The skin of a baked potato is a good source of potassium which helps in the reduction of blood pressure thus, protecting the heart and decreasing the risk of stroke.

2. The calcium and magnesium content of potatoes help in the reduction of blood pressure.

3/5. Improves Blood Sugar Control

Potato contains resistant starch which decreases insulin resistance thus, enhancing blood sugar control.

4/5. Reduces the risk of cancer

1. Potatoes are rich in antioxidants which fight free radicals from causing damage to the cells. Diet rich in antioxidants reduces cancer risk.

2. Potato contains folates which prevent the formation of several types of cancer cells.

3. Potato reduces the levels of interleukin-6, a protein that is linked with cancer cell growth within the colon thus, decreasing the risk of colorectal cancers.

4. The presence of fiber in potatoes reduces the risk of colorectal cancer. 

5/5. Other possible Benefits

Aloo produces several health benefits, apart from the health benefits mentioned above, it also produces a few more such as treats sunburns, reduces dark circles and puffy eyes, treats dry skin, reduces fine lines and wrinkles, removes dead skin cells,  good for bones, relieves premenstrual symptoms, promotes sleep, improves brain health possesses sedative properties, possesses heart-healing properties, reduces inflammation, promotes weight loss, provides relief from rheumatism, enhances general health, relieves stress, improves brain functions, alleviates kidney stones, and keeps diseases at bay.

Unfortunately, potato has had its share of bad press and there are narratives equating it with laziness, obesity, drinking etc. Whereas in reality, no recipe is complete without potatoes, in some size or form.

How to incorporate Potatoes into the diet?

Potatoes can be used in various forms such as baked, roasted, cooked, steamed, boiled mashed, fried, etc. Some of the ways by which it can be added to the diet are as follows…

  • In salads.
  • In gravies or curries.
  • In almost all the vegetables.

How to prepare Crispy Smashed Potatoes?

Take 10-12 baby potatoes and boil them.

Drain them and let them dry. 

Lay the boiled potatoes on an oiled baking sheet and smash them. Smash them using the bottom of a glass and gently pressing them down. 

Brush the smashed potatoes with olive oil.

Sprinkle salt and garlic over it.

Bake it for 450°F for approximately 25 minutes. Crispy smashed potatoes are ready to eat.

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