Irish Potato is a tuberous crop from the perennial nightshade Solanum tuberosum, and it is consumed in almost every part of the world, ranging from Africa, Asia, America, and lots more. In Nigeria, Irish potatoes are a widely consumed food product. Irish potato farming in Nigeria is also a big market, as the country is one of the biggest producers of Irish potato in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Additionally, this potato variety is packed with several essential nutrients, including Carbohydrate, Dietary Fiber, Protein, Calcium, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium, and Vitamins [B2, B3, B5, B6].
That said, Irish Potatoes is beneficial to the human health in various ways such that it helps in –maintaining brain function, treating certain skin conditions, preventing heart attack, improving gum health, supporting the immune system, etc.
Aside from those above, here are other health benefits of Irish potatoes.
Fun Fact: Why are they called Irish Potatoes?
Irish potatoes are not really Irish, or originate from Ireland. The reason they are called Irish potatoes was because they were the major food grown in Ireland in the early 1800s. Irish potatoes are also associated with The Great Irish Famine, one of the worst agricultural famines that killed one million people.
You see, many Irish people grew this potato a lot, because it was highly productive and lasted through the winter. However, when a disease called late blight came and devastated the harvest, it caused a famine that lasted for years.
8 Super Health Benefits of Irish Potatoes
1. Lowers Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a condition where the long-term force of the blood against the artery walls is too high. When this occurs, it puts extra strain on the heart as well as blood vessels and may further result in Heart disease, stroke, or even death if not well handled. Some of the common causes of High Blood Pressure include age, stress, tension, anxiety, diabetes, but to mention a few. Funnily enough, this condition usually has no symptoms, and this is the sole reason why it is often regarded as “the silent killer.”
That said, one of the best ways to prevent High BP is to eat foods that have the capability of lowering blood pressure levels, of which Irish potatoes is a typical example. These super delicious tubers are rich in essential vitamins that help in controlling the primary causes of High BP, including stress, tension, and anxiety.
In addition to the above, Irish potatoes are also rich in fiber, which plays an important role in lowering cholesterol levels and stimulating the production of insulin in the body, and this, in turn, helps in lowering the level of blood pressure.
2. Prevents scurvy
Scurvy is a disease caused by vitamin C deficiencies, and it is characterized by anemia, edema, loss of teeth, shortness of breath, swollen bleeding gums, and other related symptoms. If left untreated for a longer period, scurvy may result in fever, numbness, and pain [particularly in the lower limbs and hands], organ failure, coma, or even death.
However, the good news is that potatoes can help prevent this dreaded disease, and this is because of the high content of Vitamin C it contains. All you need do is to consume a moderate amount of potatoes regularly to provide your body with the required Vitamin C levels. This will not only keep you safe from scurvy but other diseases associated with Vitamin C deficiencies.
3. Promotes Weight Loss
Contrary to popular belief, Irish potatoes are healthy foods, and they are ideal for people intending to lose more weight. In fact, it will interest you to know that boiled potatoes are rated number one on the Satiety Index as the most filling food, closely followed by whole meat bread, brown rice, eggs, oatmeal, fish, vegetables, legumes, oranges, apples, among others. However, what makes Irish potatoes an excellent food choice for weight loss is that they contain a significant amount of fiber, vitamin, resistant starch, and other essential nutrients which plays a major role in weight loss. Therefore, when you eat boiled potatoes, you will feel full and energized for a longer period, which means it will deprive you of consuming unnecessary calories that could’ve resulted in excess weight gain. Perhaps you are looking for a high-filling food for weight loss; boiled Irish potatoes is an excellent choice for you.
Irish potatoes are also a naturally occurring gluten-free food.
4. Combats rheumatic diseases
Rheumatic Diseases otherwise known as musculoskeletal diseases refers to any disease or medical condition which causes pain and inflammation in certain regions of the body, including the joints, bones, cartilage, muscles, fibrous tissue, etc. Some of the common symptoms are – joint pain, loss of motion in your joint[s], inflammation in the affected regions, etc.
On the plus side, people suffering from diseases like these can smile once again courtesy of Irish potatoes. These potatoes contain magnesium, vitamins, and calcium, which works together to help provide soothing relief for people faced with various musculoskeletal diseases.
Research shows that consuming the water obtained after boiling the potatoes can help relief Rheumatism symptoms by a significant margin and that the patients in question should avoid eating the cooked potatoes as it can spark excess again in them.
5. Improves Gut Health
Irish potato is very rich in dietary fiber, and even a baked Irish potato contains about 12% of this essential property. Being a fiber-rich tuber, Irish potatoes promotes healthy digestion as well as regular bowel movements, which makes them a beneficial food for humans. Also, Irish potatoes offer protection to the body against colon cancer, a very deadly cancer that begins in the large intestine [colon] and it is often characterized by changes in bowel habits and stool consistency, weakness or fatigue, unexplained weight loss, cramps, constipation and bloating, blood in the stool, shortness of breath, to mention but a few.
6. Cures Inflammation
Inflammation occurs when your body responds to certain infection, irritation, or injury, and it is often accompanied by redness, warmth, swelling, or pain in the affected area or region. However, the potent properties contained in Irish potatoes include antioxidants, like Vitamin C Vitamin B6 as well as potassium are capable of handling both external and internal inflammation issues effectively. When you ingest these potatoes, it helps in repairing the wear and tear of the body cells while bringing relief in the inflamed area.
Additionally, the Vitamin B6 and potassium in Irish potatoes help in relieving inflammation in the digestive systems as well as intestines, which means people with Inflammatory Bowel Disease like ulcers can get a soothing relief upon ingesting Irish potato regularly. In addition to that, inflammation caused by burns can also be relieved using potatoes; all you need do is to apply the juice of raw potatoes over the inflamed area.
7. Reduces Stress
Irish Potatoes are excellent sources of Vitamin B6, which plays an important role in keeping the health of your nervous system optimal. It also renews the body cells while preventing mood swings in humans. Aside from that, the vitamin in potatoes stimulates the production of neurotransmitters, including dopamine and serotonin, which are capable of regulating your mood. Another benefit of Irish potatoes is that it helps in the secretion of the hormones called “adrenaline,” which play a major role in stimulating relaxation and happiness. These hormones also help in lowering stress while improving your overall wellbeing.
8. Might Improve Blood Sugar Level
There is a special type of starch present in Irish potatoes; it is known as resistant starch. It is called resistant starch because it is not broken down and fully absorbed by the body like other starch. Instead, it goes to the large intestine where it serves as a source of nutrients for the beneficial bacteria in your gut.
Many scientific studies have linked resistant starch to improving blood sugar levels. It may help reduce insulin resistance and regulate blood sugar control. These findings show that Irish potatoes are good for diabetes patients.
Irish potatoes contain numerous essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which gives you a lot of health benefits.
Many medical studies have linked Irish potatoes to the health benefits discussed above. So, you should incorporate Irish potatoes in your Nigerian diet and stay healthy.