Irish potato is a starch tuberous plant whose origin is traced to Southern Peru in South America. From there it was taken several centuries ago by explorers like Christopher Columbus and his gang to Europe. From Europe it was taken to North America and Asia by immigrants/travellers. Today Irish potato is eaten all over the world; the five biggest producers of Irish potato are China, India, Russia, Ukraine and United States of America.
In terms of consumption as source of energy, potato comes behind only rice, wheat and maize.
It has about 17percent of carbohydrate comprising starch and fibres; more importantly it has only 77Kcals
of energy in every 100gram weight, it is therefore difficult to obtain excess energy even if you consumed 1000grams of sweet potatoes in one day.
Irish potato has 2 percent protein, it is rich in potassium and Vitamins C and B6 but has very little of vitamin A and Beta carotene; 2.2 percent of Irish potato is fibre. It is 79 percent water.
Irish potato is therefore a very healthy source of carbohydrate.
Sweet potato and Irish potato are only very distantly related, they are differentthough both have their origins in South America. The leaves of sweet potato are edible while those of Irish potato are toxic; the seeds of Irish potato are also toxic and are not for human consumption.
In terms of energy content, sweet potato has more energy per 100 grams but Irish potato has more water. Irish potato has less fibre but quite rich in Potassium and Vitamin C; on the other hand Sweet potato is very rich in Vitamin A and Beta-carotene and so very protective of the eyes.
1. Helps in the management of type 2 diabetes
Irish potato contains only 17percent carbohydrate and has only 77 Kcals of energy per 100grams; the lowest among the common sources of carbohydrate, consequently it can help in weight control.
Diabetics can eat Irish potato as a source of energy without being afraid of blood sugar elevation.
2. Prevents Constipation
Irish potato contains fibre (about 2.2 percent) which is known to ease constipation and also reduce the risk of colon cancer. Fibre makes the stool bulky and so eases bowel movement.
3. Helps in weight control/ Prevent Obesity.
Eating fibre – rich foods like Irish potato helps in weight control and therefore prevents obesity. Fibre-rich foods are bulky and fill the stomach easily and there is therefore the feeling of fullness and satisfaction. More importantly it has only 77 Kcals of energy in every 100gram weight, it is therefore difficult to obtain excess energy even if you consumed 1000grams of sweet potatoes in one day. Note that excess energy is converted to fat and stored in the adipose tissue leading to obesity.
4. Protects your heart
Irish potato is very rich in the mineral called Potassium which is known to help the heart and reduce blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels. Low potassium can cause Constipation, lack of appetite and poor working of the heart.
5. Prevents colon cancer
As said earlier, Irish potato is rich in fibre; many studies in the last three decades have shown a link between increased fibre in-take and a decrease in colon cancer. This could be due to the fibre itself or the nutrients that are usually in fibre-rich foods such as vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and essential fatty acid.
6. Reduces Risk of Heart Disease/Stroke
Irish potato contains fibre, mostly soluble fibre; the latter reduces absorption of cholesterol and bile acid (which are also rich in cholesterol) from the small intestines, thereby reducing blood cholesterol level. When soluble fibres are broken down by bacteria in the intestines, some fatty acids released are said to reduce the production of cholesterol by the liver. By lowering blood cholesterol, fibres help to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke; both are associated with high blood cholesterol Level. Stroke results from narrowing/blockage or rupture of blood vessels supplying blood to the brain.
7. Makes your skin healthier.
Irish potato is rich in Vitamin C, an anti-oxidant which is known to fight free radicals in our body. Free radicals are partly responsible for the accelerated aging of the cells in our body including the cells of the skin. Regular consumption of Irish potato could make our skin healthy