To keep the healthy and frugal air that this blog has taken this summer I want to talk about one super food that most of us love. Yup I am talking about those naughty guys from this post, potatoes. Here are 13 facts about them that will make you love them even more:
- There are about about 100 varieties of edible potatoes. They are often classified as either mature potatoes (the large potatoes that we are generally familiar with) and new potatoes (those that are harvested before maturity and are of a much smaller size).
- They originated in the Andean mountain region of South America between 4,000 and 7,000 years ago and were introduce to Europe by Spanish explorers who “discovered” them in the 16th century.
- At first many people in Europe were suspicious of them because they were not mentioned in the Bible and some others thought they were poisonous.
- It is thought that potatoes were brought to the U.S. by Irish immigrants in the 18th century, but they didn’t become popular until the 19th century.
- An historical event centered around them when in 1845 and 1846, a blight ruined most of the potato crop in Ireland and caused major devastation: this event is known as the Irish Potato Famine
- Analysis of Red and Norkotah potatoes revealed that these spuds’ phenolic content rivals that of broccoli, spinach and Brussels sprouts, and includes flavonoids with protective activity against cardiovascular disease, respiratory problems and certain cancers.
- UK scientists at the Institute for Food Research have identified blood pressure-lowering compounds called kukoamines in potatoes.
- A cup of baked potato contains 21.0% of the daily value of vitamin B6, which is involved in more than 100 enzymatic reactions.
- Vitamin B6 plays numerous roles in our nervous system, many of which involve neurological activity.
- A single baked potato will also provide you with 11.7% of the daily value for fiber, but remember that the fiber in potatoes is mostly in their skin.
- Vitamin B6 is also necessary for the breakdown of glycogen, the form in which sugar is stored in our muscle cells and liver, so this vitamin is a key player in athletic performance and endurance.
- Methylation is important to cardiovascular health and the vitamin B6 found in potatoes plays a critical role in this chemical process.
- 2008 has been declared the International Year of the Potato by the United Nations. Potatoes, the website claims, is the crop of the future that could feed and increasingly hungry world.
There you have it. Thirteen facts about potatoes that will make you love them even more (but try not to eat them as French fries, fried chips or with tons of butter and sour cream, that kinda defeats the purpose).