Potato is considered to be a versatile food all over the world. It is immensely rich in carbohydrate. Potatoes get cooked and served in a wide variety of forms. A freshly harvested potato mostly contains water. Eighty percent of such fresh potatoes are constituted by water, whereas the remaining twenty percent is dry matter. This dry stuff is mainly starch. Compared to its other tuber cousins, potato is high in its protein content as well.
Another beneficial aspect of potato is that it is relatively low in fat content. This does not mean that potato is devoid of nutritious vitamins and minerals. When eaten along with its skin, a single medium-sized potato has the potential of providing nearly half of the daily adult requirement of Vitamin C.
Other essential elements present in potato include iron, potassium, phosphorus and magnesium. Being a rich source of Vitamin C, potatoes are found to enhance the pace of iron absorption by the body. Potatoes are also found to be abundant in Vitamin B1, B3 and B6. It is also rich in folate, pantothenic acid and riboflavin.
The presence of certain dietary antioxidants in potatoes deserves special mention as far as its nutritional value is considered. These antioxidants are found to be beneficial in preventing certain diseases related to ageing.
The nutritive value of potato-based meals largely depends upon the components served with them. Mode of preparation also plays a decisive role in determining its caloric value. Boiling potatoes result in the loss of Vitamin C. Frying them in heated oil, as in the making of French Fries, results in the increased absorption of fat and thereby reduces mineral and ascorbic acid content.
Though potatoes are not fattening by themselves, preparing and serving them with high-fat ingredients increases the general caloric value of the dish. Though baking also decreases the Vitamin C content in potatoes, loss of other vitamins and minerals are found to be less during baking.