The term ‘phytochemicals’ refers to a wide variety of compounds made by plants which affect our health.
The benefits of eating potatoes because of the nutrients they contain such as carbohydrates, fibre, vitamins and minerals, is widely known. However, scientific attention is now focussing on many other potato compounds which have a range of other health benefits.
Potato composition encompasses a highly diverse list of phytochemical compounds (including phenolics and flavonoids, such as flavonols and anthocyanins) and carotenoids.
Many of these compounds are antioxidants, and the potato has recently gained recognition for this. Studies indicate that some diets rich in flavonoids and carotenoids are associated with a lower incidence of heart disease, some cancers, macular degeneration and severity of cataracts.
Other studies of potato phytonutrients have identified health benefits ranging from improving digestive heath, improvements in bone health, anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritis, to anti-hepatotoxicity.
Coloured varieties of potatoes, such as red skinned and yellow fleshed, supply more antioxidants than non-coloured varieties.