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Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) is a well-known vegetable or tuber and among the world's widely used food items with health benefits related from head to toe. Many people, however, are unaware of the fact that potato skin or its peel has many health benefits, too.
Potato peel in India has colours varying from yellow to tan to light brown and also from red to white. It has a mud-like aroma and bitter taste when eaten raw. This is why peels of potato or any vegetable in general, are either fried or boiled.
In this article, we will discuss the health benefits of potato peel and other details.
Nutritional Profile Of Potato Peel
According to the USDA, 100 g of raw potato peel contains 83.3 g of water and gives 243 kJ of energy. It also contains:
|Name || |
|Dietary fibre||2.5 g|
|Vitamin C||11.4 mg|
|Vitamin B3||1.03 mg|
How To Choose Potato Peel?
Experts say to not eat potato skin that looks green. This is because a potato is a tuber that grows underground. When exposed to light or cold for longer, they start producing chlorophyll as a natural process. 
This leads to the formation of alkaloid solanine that gives a potato a bitter taste and when consumed in larger amounts, can be toxic and may cause many gastrointestinal issues. Also, sporting potatoes contains a large amount of solanine that cannot be destroyed by boiling but can be with frying.
The best way is to discard the potato itself with its skin. Also, if the green potato skin tastes bitter even after frying, it is good to discard it right away.
Select potato peels that look fresh and has no green patches. It is suggested to store potatoes away from sunlight and with proper ventilation.
Health Benefits Of Potato Peel
1. Good for heart health
According to a study, the peel of potato has potent radical scavenging or antioxidant activity due to the presence of two dominant phenolic compounds chlorogenic and gallic acids. These compounds may help maintain good heart health by reducing damage to the heart due to free radicals.
Potato peels also contain a significant amount of potassium, which is a good element in regulating the blood pressure in the body. 
2. Has antibacterial and antifungal properties
Potato peel has strong antimicrobial compounds against a range of bacterial and fungal infections. This is due to the presence of terpenes and flavonoid organic compounds in the peel.  Upon consumption, it may help prevent infections and keep a person healthy.
Also, the bacteriostatic nature of the potato peel is considered safe to be used in food processing industries as they naturally help protect against foodborne pathogens and help in food preservatives.
3. Helps heal wounds
Studies say that potato peel acts as a natural wound healer and may help heal wounds and prevent bacterial overgrowth in the affected skin area. It has the ability to induce cutaneous healing by promoting cell growth and providing tensile strength to the wounded skin.
Also, potato peel dressing is cheap, always available, less painful and easy to apply remedy, and better than gauze alone dressing especially during the healing phase. 
4. Has antiviral properties
Potato peel not only has antibacterial and antifungal qualities, but also antiviral properties against enteric viruses, those human viruses which are mainly transmitted by the faecal-oral route, vomit, from person-to-person direct contact or by consumption of contaminated food or water.
Chlorogenic and caffeic acid in the peel is the major phenolic compounds that are responsible for its antiviral activity. 
5. Prevents anaemia
According to a study, baked (1.08 mg) and microwaved (1.24 mg) potato along with its skin provide the maximum amount of iron to the body.  Another study says that potato peel contains 55 per cent of iron of the total tuber iron content.
As we know that iron is an important component in maintaining the production and supply of red blood cells in the body, consumption of potato peel can help prevent or reduce eth risk of related diseases like anaemia. 
6. Helps lose weight
Potato peel is a staple food that is low in fat, high in energy and packed with an abundance of nutrients like vitamin B, vitamin C, potassium and dietary fibre.
These nutrients in potato peel add it to the list of diet which is best known for weight management. Consuming potato peel dishes help you stay energised and full for longer, and also keep your calories under control. 
7. Has anthocyanins
Anthocyanins are flavonoids that give fruit or vegetables their natural colour. Tubers like potatoes, especially red, yellow and purple have an abundance of this vital flavonoid linked to several health benefits.
Potato peel has maximum anthocyanins than its flesh, and from preventing inflammatory diseases to chronic diseases, it has various roles in the body of people of all age groups. 
8. Helps reduce glucose levels
A study talks about the anti-diabetic and antihyperglycemic effects of potato peel. It says that dietary fibre and polyphenols in potato peel powder can help reduce glucose levels when added to the diet for four weeks.
Additionally, potato peel also helps reduce damage to the liver and kidney due to free radicals and improve their functions in people with diabetes. Potato peel also helps prevent damage to eye nerves due to high glucose. 
9. Has chemopreventive or cancer-fighting properties
Potato naturally contains glycoalkaloids to protect itself from insects and herbivores. When exposed to light, the concentration of this chemical increases which can be harmful to the body when consumed in excess amount. However, in a small amount, it can have many positive benefits.
A study has shown that pure isolated glycoalkaloids possess anticarcinogenic properties that may help prevent a range of cancer types such as cervical, liver, stomach and lymphoma. 
10. Helps in the management of necrotising fasciitis
Necrotising fasciitis (NF) is a rare, fatal and aggressive form of skin condition. As aforementioned, potato peel works wonderfully for wounded skin, but it can also be effective for many chronic, rapidly spreading and polymicrobial skin wounds like NF.
A study has shown that when applied to necrosis-based wounds, potato peel can help treat it with various modalities, especially due to the glycoalkaloids present in potatoes such as alpha chaconine and alpha solanine which act as a toxic compound for microorganisms present in wounds. 
Potato peel has benefits not only related to health, but other areas too. It is a great source of renewable energy like biogas, as a nutritious animal feed, as a food preservative, as a pharmaceutical ingredient and many other prominent uses.
Potato peel is good for many health purposes, from preventing the risk of cancer to maintaining good heart health, and from treating chronic wounds to managing diabetes. This is due to the abundance of vital antioxidants like anthocyanins, caffeic acid, potassium and glycoalkaloids in potato peel.
Yes, potato feel is excellent for the face. The antioxidants in this staple food may help reduce skin problems related to ageing, while its anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory effects help treat skin problems like boils, acne, blackheads, pimples and cuts.
Though vital minerals, vitamins and antioxidants in potato peel can help maintain good hair health by strengthening its roots and preventing dandruff, its effect on totally reversing grey hair is not well-established. However, some studies do say that it can temporarily darken hair with time.