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The potato and its contribution to the human diet and health.

Potato has contributed to human diet for thousands of years, first in the Andes of South America and then in the rest of the world. Its contribution to the human diet is affected by cooking, potato intake levels, and the bioavailability of potato nutrients. Generally, the key nutrients found in potatoes including minerals, proteins, and dietary fiber are well retained after cooking. Vitamins C and B6 are significantly reduced after cooking while carotenoids and anthocyanins show high recoveries after cooking due to an improved release of these antioxidants. In many developed countries potatoes are consumed as a vegetable with intakes that vary from 50 to 150 g per day for adults. On the other hand, in some rural areas of Africa and in the highlands of Latin American countries, potato is considered a staple crop and is consumed in large quantities with intakes that vary from 300 to 800 g per day for adults. These marked differences in the potato intake affect significantly the contribution of potato nutrients to the human dietary requirements. In recent years, information about nutrient bioaccessibility and bioavailability from potatoes has become available indicating higher bioaccessibility of minerals and vitamins in potato as compared with other staple crops such as beans or wheat. Bioavailability refers to the fraction of an ingested nutrient that is available for utilization in normal physiological functions and/or for body storage while bioaccessibility refers to the amount that is potentially absorbable from the gut lumen. In addition, potatoes have shown promising health-promoting properties in human cell culture, experimental animal and human clinical studies, including anticancer, hypocholesterolemic, anti-inflammatory, anti-obesity, and antidiabetic properties with phenolics, anthocyanins, fiber, resistant starch, carotenoids as well as glycoalkaloids contributing to the health benefits of potatoes.