Potatoes are enjoyed in a variety of ways. Oftentimes, the potato is overlooked and considered a fattening food; and while it can be if prepared in the form of greasy hash browns or fries, the potato actually has beneficial properties. It is a starchy vegetable and 70% of its weight is made up of water, which makes it a filling food. The potato is rich in potassium, antioxidants, vitamins C and B6 and also contains fiber, iron, phosphorus and calcium. Also, the potato is gluten-free and is a healthy and tasty alternative to pasta and grain breads.
It is considered “the world’s most versatile vegetable” and can be used for all sorts of culinary dishes from soups, casseroles, a stand-alone dish, there are a multitude of possibilities. While potatoes do have a robust storage life in their natural state, they are just as tasty and nutritious in freeze-dried and air-dried form.
With the advancement of technology, the process of freeze-drying, IQF (individually quick frozen) maintain the nutritional value of the potatoes and also very convenient. This method removed the water weight of the potato, which makes them easily available in a variety of forms, including diced, sliced, pureed and flaked; and extremely light weight. Also, when properly stored, their quality and shelf-life increase immensely. Better still, is that pound for pound, the IQF and dried versions means more spuds for the buck. Potatoes, as well as other vegetables and fruits sold in these forms merely lend to more variety in the types of dishes that can be made.
All in all, potatoes in all forms are loaded with lots of healthy nutrients.
The potato contains protein and antioxidants as well as other beneficial compounds such as flavonoids and carotenoids, which help the body to eliminate free radicals. Studies coordinated by scientists in the UK actually discovered that the potato has compounds that help reduce blood pressure; a very important find for individuals with high blood pressure.
Another health benefit of the potato is the high concentration of the B6 vitamin, which is essential in assisting with the production of over one hundred enzymatic reactions crucial to the healthy cells and production of red blood cells. Vitamin B6 also helps the body metabolize sugar, or glycogen that is found in the liver and muscles, and it is this type of metabolic action that helps athletes’ performance ability and endurance.
About the Potato
The potato is a nightshade, tuber that was first introduced to Europe in the 16th century. The earliest known cultivation of the potato was in 2500 BC in central Peru. Several potato varieties have evolved over the years; some even grow in the wild. However, over the past century different potato varieties have been combined and there are now more than 5,000 varieties produced commercially.
It is considered a staple in many homes due to its ability to be easily stored for long periods and because of its versatility.