Monday, July 23, 2012

Vegetable Of The Week - Potatoes


Vegetable History:
The potato was first domesticated in the region of modern-day southern Peru and extreme northwestern Bolivia. This event took place between the years 8000 BC and 5000 BC. In the Altiplano, potatoes provided the principal energy source for the Inca Empire, its predecessors, and its Spanish successor. In Bolivia and Peru above 10,000 feet altitude, tubers exposed to the cold night air turned into chuño. When kept in permanently frozen underground storehouses, chuño can be stored for years with no loss of nutritional value. The Spanish fed chuño to the silver miners who produced vast wealth in the 16th century for the Spanish government. Potatoes were planted in Idaho as early as 1838; by 1900 the state's production exceeded a million bushels (about 27,000 tons). Prior to 1910, the crops were stored in barns or root cellars, but, by the 1920s, potato cellars came into use. U.S. potato production has increased steadily; two-thirds of the crop comes from Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, and Maine, and potato growers have strengthened their position in both domestic and foreign markets. - Wikipedia, Potato, History 

Health Benefits: 
The fiber content helps slow absorption of starch in the gut and thereby keeping blood sugar levels within normal range.  For the same reason, potato is still favored source of carbohydrates in diabetics. - Nutrition & You

High concentration of vitamin B6 (a cup of baked potato contains 21.0% of the daily value for this important nutrient). 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 the nucleic acids used in the creation of our DNA. - Worlds Healthiest Foods

Vitamin C and B complex and minerals like potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc are good for the skin. Apart from that, pulp obtained from crushed raw potatoes, mixed with honey, can serve as excellent skin and face packs. This helps even curing pimples and spots on the skin. Again, this pulp, if applied externally on burns, gives a quick relief and heals fast. Smashed potatoes, even water in which potatoes are washed, are very good for softening and cleaning skin, especially around elbows, back of the palms etc. - Organic Facts 


Recent studies at Agricultural research service (by plant genetics scientist Roy Navarre) suggests that flavonoid antioxidant, quercetin present in potatoes has anti-cancer and cardio-protective properties. - Nutrition & You

Proper brain function largely depend on oxygen supply, glucose level, magnesium, some members of the vitamin B complex and some hormones, such as amino acids and fatty acids like omega-3 fatty acids. Potatoes meet almost all the needs mentioned above. In addition, it contains certain other substances like zinc and phosphorus which are good for brain too. - Health Online Ezine

UK scientists at the Institute for Food Research have identified blood pressure-lowering compounds called kukoamines in potatoes. Previously only found in Lycium 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. - Worlds Healthiest Foods

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