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Potato - Health Benefits of Sweet Potato

Botanical Name: Solanum tuberosum

Family Name : Solanaceae

Potato is the most popular and all-time useful vegetable in the world. It is an annual plant with underground swollen, stem tubers. The potato has only a very distant relationship with the sweet potato. In areas of the United States where sweet potatoes grow commonly, people sometimes refer to the "Irish potato" to distinguish the two, a reference to the widespread cultivation of potatoes in Ireland in the 19th century.

Origin and Distribution

The history of the potato has its roots in the windswept Andes Mountains of South America. It is an austere region plagued by fluctuating temperatures and poor soil conditions. Yet the tough and durable potato evolved in its thin air (elevations up to 15,000 feet), climbing ever higher like the people who first settled the region. Originally, it is native of South Amelia and was introduced in Europe later on. At one time it was considered poisonous but later on accepted as a food item and a substitute for wheat in food scarcity.

Properties of potato

Antispasmodic, antiphlogistic, antacid.

Food Value of potato

Potato is a nutritive vegetable in which main compound is starch but there is protein of high biological value. It contains good amount of alkaline salts. It is rich in soda, potash and vitamins A and B.

Potato analysis gives the following composition (per 100 grams of edible part):

Moisture 75 %
Protein 1.6%
Fibre 0.4%
Carbohydrate 22.6%
Phosphorus 40 mg
Fat 0.1%
Calcium 10 mg
Vitamin C 17 mg
Iron 0.7 mg

Medicinal Uses & benefits

The leaves, green tubers and fruits are dangerously toxic because of their high solanine content. Apart from its culinary value, the white tuber has various medicinal qualities:

  1. It has soothing effect in eye irritations and can be used as a paste on skin irritants, sores and haemorrhoids.
  2. The water in which potatoes have been boiled, can be used to clean silver and restore a shine to furniture & leather objects.
  3. The juice of the plant is used by some people to relieve heartburn and water brash.
  4. Roasted potatoes act as antacid.
  5. Emollient and cleansing face masks are also made from it to treat greasy or wrinkled skin.

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