But before starting, a small explanation on what is a Superfood?
Superfood is defined many ways. Wikipedia defines Superfood as a food with high phytonutrient content that may confer health benefits as a result. An example of Superfood are blueberries,because they contain significant amounts of antioxidants, anthocyanins, vitamin C, manganese, and dietary fiber. Notably, dietary experts and nutritional scientists try to avoid the use of the term, as they consider the term as more of a marketing term than a real entity; for them it’s extremely difficult for any food item to classify as a Superfood. The Dictionary defines superfood in the general sense of “a food considered especially nutritious or otherwise beneficial to health and well-being”.
In short, Superfood is a food which packs all the world’s Goodness for everyone.
According to a new study, Potato, the humble spud has emerged as an unlikely superfood after it is observed that potatoes can reduce blood pressure.
How the study is is conducted:
Scientists fed 18 persons six to eight potatoes twice a day and found that after a month their average blood pressure readings had improved. Systolic blood pressure, the “upper” reading when blood is pumped with each beat of the heart, was down by 3.5%. At the same time, the diastolic “lower” reading, showing the pressure between beats when blood vessels are relaxed or the heart is relaxed, decreased by 4.3%. Normal systolic diastolic Blood pressure reading for humans is 120 and 80 respectively.
In the study sample, most of the patients were overweight or obese and already taking drugs for high blood pressure, yet the potatoes still appeared affect their health positively.
The study findings are an eye-opener for many, as the potato, more than any other vegetable, has a specially bad reputation. A reputation that has led many health-conscious people to ban them from their diet, adds Lead researcher Dr Joe Vinson, from the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, US.
The study hopes that the new findings will help potato shed its bad reputation, wherein people associate ‘fattening, high-carbohydrates, empty calories’ with the humble spud. When in reality, when prepared without frying and served without butter, margarine or sour cream, one potato has only 110 calories and dozens of healthful phytochemicals and vitamins.
The researchers thus recommend people to include potatoes (study used purple potatoes) with their jackets on(unpeeled), that were cooked without oil, in a microwave, in their diets. Purple potatoes were chosen because colour pigments in fruits and vegetables are especially rich in beneficial chemicals. But the scientists believe red-skinned or white potatoes may have similar effects.
Potato is always considered beneficial in least processed form, in alternate medicines like Ayurveda as well. There are many instances, when Seers in Himalayan caves are said to be living only on millet floor and potatoes. Among the Incas of South America, potato constitutes a part of the staple diet, along with meat and maize.
It appears, the humble potato got a non-deserving bad reputation, as people who consume it, go overboard most of the times (Very few people get bored of potatoes, so most people can consume it every day of their lives). Another reason for it getting a notorious position among foods is it being the favorite raw material of the food processing and fast food industry; an industry which always tries to combine the ‘palatable in any form, everyday’ virtue of potato with the addictive nature of processed and fast food.
Try incorporating, the humble potato in least processed form, and you’ll become healthier.
NOTE: Microwaving appears to be the best way to preserve potato nutrients, according to Dr Vinson. In case you don’t have a microwave, cooking potatoes on a hearth with simmering wood/coal coke will do the trick as well.