Potato plants have not only delicious tubers but also green leaves called Solanum tuberosum. These leaves have been eaten for ages and are even used in traditional medicine.
You can enjoy these leaves fresh or cooked, just like spinach, in salads, soups, and stews.
Potato leaves were used in old remedies for treatments like respiratory infections, fever, and swelling. Recent studies have found that these leaves are really healthy. In this article, we’ll explore the cool health benefits of potato leaves that science has proven.
Nutritional Content of Potato Leaves
100 grams of steamed potato leaves contain:
- Vitamin A: 1028 IU, or 21% of the daily value
- Vitamin K: 69.5 mcg, or 87% of the daily value (when cooked)
- Vitamin C: 11.0 mg, or 18% of the daily value
- Magnesium: 61.0 mg, or 15% of the daily value
- Calories: 35.0
- Potassium: 518 mg, or 15% of the daily value
- Folate: 80.0 mcg, or 20% of the daily value
- Manganese: 0.3 mg, or 13% of the daily value
- Vitamin B6: 0.2 mg, or 9% of the daily value
- Carbs: 22.7 g
- Protein: 4.0 g
- Fat: 0.3 g
- Fiber: 2.0 g
- Riboflavin: 0.3 mg, or 20% of the daily value
- Thiamine: 0.2 mg, or 10% of the daily value
- Iron: 1.0 mg, or 6% of the daily value
- Calcium: 37.0 mg, or 4% of the daily value
11 Health Benefits of Potato Leaves
Here are ten astonishing health benefits of potato leaves:
1. Promotes Skin Health
Potato leaves are prized in natural skincare for their skin-friendly attributes. They’re believed to contribute to smoother, younger-looking skin, soothe dryness, reduce inflammation, and diminish wrinkles. This stems from their rich vitamin and mineral content, which nourishes and revitalizes the skin from the inside out.
3. Promotes Eye Health
4. May Help Fight Cancer
The antioxidants and compounds in potato leaves lower the risk of cancers like colon, lung, and prostate. Their folate also guards against cancer cell DNA damage. The chlorogenic acid they contain is known for its anti-cancer properties.
5. Promotes Better Digestion
Potato leaves aid digestion through their fiber content, promoting regularity and bowel health. They also combat inflammation and prevent specific cancers and chronic diseases.
6. Help regulate Blood Pressure
The combo of potassium and fiber helps lower high blood pressure. Potassium dilates blood vessels, enhancing blood flow, while fiber reduces cholesterol, contributing to balanced blood pressure.
7. Packed with Vitamins
Potato leaves are bursting with essential vitamins and minerals like A, C, folate, iron, calcium, and potassium. These boost the immune system, lower inflammation, and guard cells from damage by acting as antioxidants. A 2015 study confirmed that they’re particularly rich in these vitamins when harvested young.
8. Packed with Fiber
With 5 grams of fiber per cooked cup, potato leaves aid digestion, combat constipation, and contribute to weight management by keeping you full longer.
9. Promotes Metabolism
Thanks to their magnesium content, potato leaves impact metabolism positively. Studies indicate they keep the metabolism efficient and may aid weight loss. In a 2022 study, sweet potato extract reduced obesity in mice.
10. Promotes Gut Health
Probiotics and dietary fiber in potato leaves support digestive health and balance gut flora, decreasing inflammation, preventing diarrhea, and even guarding against certain cancers.
11. Promotes Brain Health
According to research, eating the leaves of a sweet potato may help maintain the brain’s health by providing it with the nutrients it requires to function properly. Eating sweet potato leaves can help reduce inflammation in the body and provide antioxidants to protect you from oxidative stress caused by free radicals. These antioxidants appear to be beneficial to memory, mood, and overall brain function.
Can You Eat Raw Potato Leaves?
Yes, uncooked potato leaves are edible. Potato leaves are both tasty and healthy. They can be consumed in their natural state, or they can be added to salads, used as a garnish, or blended into smoothies. Just make sure to carefully wash the leaves before eating them to remove any dirt or toxins. Raw potato leaves have a somewhat earthy and nutty flavor that makes them a one-of-a-kind addition to your culinary arsenal.
Can You Boil Potato Leaves and Drink?
Yes, you can boil potato leaves and drink the liquid that results as tea. When potato leaves are boiled, they produce an infusion that can be drunk as a beverage. This technique is frequently used to extract minerals and potential health benefits from leaves. After boiling, drain the liquid and serve it as tea. Potato leaf tea is well-known for its possible health benefits, such as being a source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. However, as with any herbal supplement, it’s best to consult a healthcare practitioner before incorporating new ingredients into your diet, especially if you have any underlying health concerns or are using drugs.
Potato Leaves Side Effects
Potato leaves contain natural glycoalkaloids like solanine and chaconine, which can be toxic in high amounts. These compounds might lead to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and more severe health issues. However, potato leaves generally have lower glycoalkaloid levels compared to the tubers. Cooking or boiling the leaves can reduce these compounds and minimize toxicity risk.
Certain individuals might be allergic to components in potato leaves, causing skin rashes, itching, swelling, or digestive discomfort. If you experience any allergic symptoms, avoiding potato leaves is advisable.
Like other fibrous foods, potato leaves’ dietary fiber might cause digestive distress for some people. Consuming excessive fiber-rich foods, including these leaves, in a short period of time can lead to bloating, gas, and discomfort.
Components in potato leaves could interact with specific medications, potentially affecting their efficacy. Consulting a healthcare provider before making significant dietary changes, especially if on medication, is crucial.
Ensuring proper washing and sourcing potato leaves from safe, pesticide-free environments is essential. Contaminants such as pesticides or pollutants pose potential health risks.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Pregnant and breastfeeding individuals should be cautious about introducing new foods like potato leaves into their diets. Consulting a healthcare professional before consumption is wise, as individual reactions can differ.
Potato greens might not be a regular dinner table guest, but if you’re seeking a nourishing addition to your meals, potato leaves could be a smart choice.
Loaded with vitamins and minerals, these leaves bring a host of health perks to the table. Plus, they’re a breeze to prepare and blend into your diet. Whether you prefer them cooked or raw, potato leaves play well in salads and stir-fries, adding a nutritious punch to your plate.