1 . Potatoes
Potatoes are one of the most common and important food sources on the planet, and they contain a wealth of health benefits that make them all the more essential as a staple dietary item for much of the world
2 . Description
Whether it is mashed, baked or made into French fries, many people often think of the potato as a comfort food. This sentiment probably inspired the potatos scientific name,Solanum tuberosum, sincesolanumis derived from a Latin word meaning soothing. The potatos name also reflects that it belongs to theSolanaceaefamily whose other members include tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and tomatillos.
3 . History
Potatoes originated in the Andean mountain region of South America. Researchers estimate that potatoes have been cultivated by the Indians living in these areas for between 4,000 and 7,000 years. Unlike many other foods, potatoes were able to be grown at the high altitudes typical of this area and therefore became a staple food for these hardy people.
4 . Nutritional Valueof Potatoes
The reason that potatoes have spread across the globe so quickly and has been so widely accepted is because they are astorehouse of energy and nutrition, including vitamins, minerals, andessential organic compounds. Their minerals include very good amounts of manganese, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorous, and moderate amounts of iron, copper, zinc, and calcium. In terms of vitamins, a single serving of potatoes contains great amounts of vitamin C, folate, vitamin B6, and niacin, as well as good amounts of pantothenic acid, thiamin, vitamin K, and riboflavin. On top of that, potatoes are a wonderful source of carbohydrates, fiber, and protein. Overall, this unremarkable tuber contains many of the essential building blocks for good health!
5 . Health Benefits
Potatoes are a very popular food source. Unfortunately, most people eat potatoes in the form of greasy French fries or potato chips, and even baked potatoes are typically loaded down with fats such as butter, sour cream, melted cheese and bacon bits. Such treatment can make even baked potatoes a potential contributor to a heart attack. But take away the extra fat and deep frying, and a baked potato is an exceptionally healthful low calorie, high fiber food that offers significant protection against cardiovascular disease and cancer.
6 . BloodPressure Lowering Potential
UK scientists at the Institute for Food Research have identified blood pressurelowering compounds called kukoamines in potatoes. Previously only found inLycium chinense, an exotic herbal plant whose bark is used to make an infusion in Chinese herbal medicine, kukoamines were found in potatoes using a new type of research called metabolomics. Potatoes have been cultivated for thousands of years, and we thought traditional crops were pretty well understood, said IFR food scientist Dr Fred Mellon, but this surprise finding shows that even the most familiar of foods might conceal a hoard of healthpromoting chemicals. Another good reason to center your diet around the Worlds Healthiest Foods!
7 . Vitamin B6Building Your Cells
If only for its high concentration of vitamin B61 medium potato contains over onehalf of a milligram of this important nutrientthe potato earns high marks as a healthpromoting food. Vitamin B6 is involved in more than 100 enzymatic reactions. Enzymes are proteins that help chemical reactions take place, so vitamin B6 is active virtually everywhere in the body. Many of the building blocks of protein,amino acids, require B6 for their synthesis, as do thenucleic acidsused in the creation of our DNA. Because amino and nucleic acids are such critical parts of new cell formation, vitamin B6 is essential for the formation of virtually all new cells in the body.
8 . Potatoes and Pesticide Residues
Virtually all municipal drinking water in the United States contains pesticide residues, and with the exception of organic foods, so do the majority of foods in the U.S. food supply. Even though pesticides are present in food at very small trace levels, their negative impact on health is well documented. The livers ability to process other toxins, the cells ability to produce energy, and the nerves ability to send messages can all be compromised by pesticide exposure. According to the Environmental Working Groups 2014 report Shoppers Guide to Pesticides, conventionally grown potatoes are among the top 12 fruits and vegetables on which pesticide residues have been most frequently found. Therefore, individuals wanting to avoid pesticideassociated health risks may want to avoid consumption of potatoes unless they are grown organically.
9 . Potatoes Belong to the Nightshade Family
Potatoes are one of the vegetables in the nightshade (Solanaceae) family, which includes eggplant, tomatoes and bell peppers. Anecdotal case histories link improvement in arthritis symptoms with removal of these foods;however, no casecontrolled scientific studies confirm these observations.
10 . Processed Potato Products and Acrylamides
Regularly cooked potatoes are not a concern when it comes to acrylamide, a potentially toxic and potentially cancercausing substance. Yet, fried, processed foods made with potatoessuch as potato chips and french friesare considered among the highest risk of foods when it comes to acrylamide exposure. This is yet another reason to avoid or minimize your intake of these foods. For more on acrylamides, see ourdetailed writeupon the subject.