Potato is a carbohydrate-rich, energy-providing food with little fat. It is also a source of high resistant starch that can be optimized depending on the preparation method.
Potato has significant levels of vitamin C that are reduced after cooking to different extents depending on the variety and type of cooking. It is also a source of minerals, potassium being the predominant one and iron and zinc those of major interest since varietal choice or breeding for higher concentration of these micronutrients can contribute to reduce malnutrition in places where potato consumption is high.
Depending on the variety consumed, potato can be a good source of antioxidants like carotenoids and polyphenols that can contribute to preventing both degenerative and age-related diseases. Deep yellow fleshed varieties contain high concentrations of zeaxanthin, a carotenoid involved in protection against macular degeneration. Purple fleshed potatoes are a source of anthocyanins, a natural pigment with anti-oxidative properties.
A fast and non-expensive method based on NIRS analysis has been successfully applied for massive evaluation of potato macro and micronutrients, facilitating the evaluation of potato genetic resources and the selection of parental lines in a breeding program oriented to the improvement of the nutritional quality of potato.
Bonierbale, M; Burgos Zapata, G; zum Felde, T; Sosa, P. Composition nutritionnelle des pommes de terre [Nutritional composition of potatoes]. Cahiers de Nutrition et de Diététique (2010) 45 (6) S28-S36. [DOI: 10.1016/S0007-9960(10)70005-5]