Potato leaves are the green foliage of the potato plant, scientifically known as Solanum tuberosum. While potatoes are commonly known for their starchy tubers, the leaves of the plant are also edible and have been used in traditional medicine for centuries.
The leaves are versatile and can be consumed raw or cooked. They can be used as a substitute for spinach in recipes such as salads, soups, and stews.
Did you know? Potato leaves have also been used in traditional medicine to treat various ailments such as respiratory infections, fever, and inflammation. In recent years, research has shown that potato leaves have numerous amazing health benefits. In this article, we will discuss the proven health benefits of potato leaves backed by scientific research.
10 Health Benefits of Potato Leaves
Below are ten health benefits of potato leaves that will amaze you.
1. Loaded with vitamins
Potato leaves are an excellent source of several essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, C, folate, iron, calcium, and potassium. These nutrients can help strengthen the immune system and reduce inflammation throughout the body. Plus, vitamin C in potato leaves is an important antioxidant, meaning it helps protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.
In fact, a 2015 study published in the American Society for Horticultural Science aimed to determine the content of ascorbic acid, thiamin, riboflavin, and vitamin B6 in sweet potato leaves. The results confirmed that sweet potato leaves are a good source of these vitamins, especially when harvested at a young age.
2. Rich in fiber
A single cup of cooked potato leaves contains 5 grams of fiber or 20% of the daily recommended amount. Eating fiber helps improve digestion and can help prevent constipation and other digestive issues. Additionally, fiber helps you stay fuller for longer, aiding in weight management.
3. Supports heart health
The high levels of fiber and antioxidants in potato leaves make them a heart-healthy option. Studies have shown that potato leaves can reduce “bad” cholesterol levels, and blood pressure, improve blood vessel health, and help reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
4. May improve eye health
Potato leaves are a great source of carotenoids and antioxidants that can help reduce the risk of macular degeneration and other vision problems. They also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, two important compounds for eye health.
5. Cancer-fighting properties
The antioxidants and other compounds found in potato leaves have been linked to reducing the risk of certain cancers, including colon, lung, and prostate cancer. Additionally, the folate in potato leaves helps protect against cancer cells’ DNA damage.
Furthermore, potato leaves are rich in chlorogenic acid, a caffeoylquinic acid derivative, which is known for its health benefits, including protection against cancers.
6. Improved digestion
Potato leaves can be incredibly helpful in aiding digestion. The high content of dietary fiber found in potato leaves helps to keep your digestion regular and your bowels healthy, ensuring that you remain in optimal health.
The antioxidants and carotenoids in potato leaves have also been linked to preventing certain types of cancer and chronic diseases, including inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.
7. Lowers blood pressure
The combination of potassium and fiber in potato leaves is beneficial for lowering high blood pressure. The potassium helps dilate blood vessels, allowing for improved blood flow, while the fiber helps reduce cholesterol, further promoting healthy blood pressure levels.
8. Boosts metabolism
Potato leaves contain magnesium, which has been shown to affect metabolism positively. Studies have shown that consuming magnesium-rich foods, such as potato leaves, can help to keep our metabolism working properly and promote weight loss.
A 2022 study investigated the effect of sweet potato extract on obesity induced by a high-fat diet in mice. The study found that the administration of sweet potato extract reduced body weight gain, liver weight, and fat accumulation in the liver and adipose tissue of the mice.
The study suggests that sweet potato extract may have potential as a natural remedy for obesity and related metabolic disorders.
9. Healthy gut
The probiotics and dietary fiber found in potato leaves are great for digestive health and help keep our gut flora balanced. This helps to reduce inflammation, prevent diarrhea, and even protect against some types of cancer.
10. May promote healthy skin
Finally, potato leaves have many skin-related benefits, so they are frequently found in natural skincare products. Not only are potato leaves said to help promote smoother, younger-looking skin, but they can also help reduce inflammation, ease dry skin, and reduce wrinkles. This is likely due to their high vitamin and mineral content, which can help nourish and revitalize your skin from the inside out.
These are just a few of the health benefits of potato leaves that make them a nutritious and delicious addition to your diet. Perhaps you’re looking for an immune system boost, improved digestion, or better heart health, potato leaves offer plenty of nutritional benefits.
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