The potato is the type of food that fits into several recipes. With it, you can make salads, pasta, purees, stews, soups, desserts and even ice cream.
It is a tuber, that is, a stem or root that stores starch (which is a reserve energy source for some plants).
But be careful: only the root must be consumed. The leaves, flowers and branches of the potato are toxic to humans and animals, and therefore should not be consumed.
As for the consumption of the potato peel, it is released, it is very healthy, as long as it is properly cleaned to avoid contamination by viruses, fungi and bacteria that may be present.
- 1 What is the origin of the potato?
- 2 Potato types
- 3 What is the nutritional value of potatoes?
- 4 Potato: with or without peel?
- 5 What kind of carbohydrate is potato?
- 6 What are the benefits of potatoes?
- 7 How to consume in a healthy way?
- 8 How to plant?
What is the origin of the potato?
The potato appeared in South America. The first reports of the root are of the Inca peoples that inhabited the region of the Andes Cordillera (more specifically the Peruvian and Chilean part). It was popularized in the 16th century, when it was taken by explorers to Europe and became the basis of food.
Although it can be found worldwide, this root is most consumed in countries in Europe, America and Asia.
One of the reasons for its worldwide popularity is the restaurant and fast food chains that usually include this delicacy in their dishes.
The country that produces the most potatoes is China, which harvests approximately 341 million tonnes per year. Russia, India, Poland and Ukraine complete the list of the 5 largest producers. The data are from the chemical company Yara.
According to the Brazilian Potato Association (ABBA), the potato is the 4th most consumed food, behind rice, wheat and corn.
Currently, there are about 4 thousand potato variations, which are differentiated by color, taste, size, shape and texture on the palate.
They are all from the same family ( Solanum tuberosum ). Know the most common ones:
Sweet potatoes help to lose weight, control cholesterol and strengthen immunity because it has several vitamins (A, B12, B16, C, D), calcium, beta-carotene and fiber.
It has a pink or purple shell with an interior that can be white or purple. But the main characteristic that distinguishes it from others is the sweet taste (often used to make sweet dishes like desserts).
Salsa potato (mandioquinha or baroa potato)
This type of tuber is also called mandioquinha, parsnip and many other names.
Its great highlight is the amount of fibers that allows to fight constipation and other abdominal discomforts (such as bloating and stomach pains).
This is the most common type of potato, the one with yellow skin and flesh and brown spots.
The size and weight can vary, but are usually between 5cm and 10cm, weighing approximately 90g.
It is also one of the most villains, since it has more calories than the other types and still contributes to the accumulation of localized fats, when consumed in excess.
Sweet potato yacon
The yacon potato is known as the “diabetic potato”, as it is rumored that it controls blood glucose levels and several others (high cholesterol and hypertension, for example).
It is important to note that there are no scientific studies that prove the efficiency of water consumption of yacon potatoes or tea with the leaves of this tuber.
In addition, excessive consumption can harm other organs and systems in the body (such as the kidneys and liver).
On the other hand, the yacon potato is one of the most nutritious and least caloric. In its composition there is 90% water and only 8% carbohydrates .
As the name says, this potato is purple. It is divided into 2 subspecies: with the purple peel and white pulp and with the peel and pulp in the same tone as the name.
One of its advantages is the antioxidant action, that is, it fights free radicals (molecules that can damage healthy cells).
The taste of this root is very similar to the flavor of normal sweet potatoes and it can be used in cooking to make dishes more cheerful and beautiful, as well as nutritious and tasty.
Asterix potato (or pink)
Asterix potatoes have less water and more starch. Therefore, it is indicated for people who make physical effort, since it tends to produce a greater amount of energy.
What is the nutritional value of potatoes?
The amount of calories can vary depending on the type of potato and the way it was prepared. About 100g of cooked potato (most common) contains approximately 78 kcal. The same amount of roast is 93 kcal. If it is fried, the calorie value rises to 312.
This root also has vitamins and minerals that are important for the proper functioning of the body.
What are the vitamins and minerals in the potato?
Just as the type and appearance of the potato can influence the amount of calories, vitamins and minerals can also be modified by these two factors.
In general, about 100g of cooked potato has:
Potato: with or without peel?
The ideal is to keep the potato with the skin, because it is there that the highest concentration of vitamins and fibers in the tuber.
But the consumption of this part of the potato may not be as healthy, since it is common for the skin to be full of pesticides (if the product is not organic).
If you know the origin of the potato and want to consume the peel, don’t forget to clean it properly to avoid infections by bacteria, fungi and viruses.
What kind of carbohydrate is potato?
The carbohydrates present represent about 20% of the total composition of this root.
Each type of potato can be classified in different ways. For example, English is called simple (or bad) carbohydrate, while sweet potatoes are part of complex (good) carbohydrates.
This is because of the absorption speed. As the candy has more fibers, its glycemic index is lower compared to other types. Then the sugar present is released more slowly into the blood.
However, the glycemic load of most potatoes is quite similar. This means that the absorption speed can also be affected by the method of preparation.
Despite being a darling in the fitness world, being called a good carbohydrate, sweet potatoes can lose a lot of advantages when baked, and also have a high glycemic index.
What are the benefits of potatoes?
This root has some benefits such as strengthening the bones, reducing stress because it helps in relaxation, contributes to cardiovascular health (preventing cases of infarction and stroke, controlling bad cholesterol and lowering blood pressure).
In addition to these benefits, this tuber still:
- Prevents cramps: this because it has calcium and potassium that prevent involuntary contractions;
- It contributes to the beauty of the skin and hair: it avoids problems such as acne and crow’s feet. By increasing the collagen, it tends to contribute so that the skin is firmer and the hair falls less;
- It is good for the kidneys: it contains substances (such as starch and magnesium) that help to eliminate impurities from the body that accumulate in the kidneys, thus leaving them cleaner and purified;
- Relieves the symptoms of PMS: the potato increases serotonin (hormone of happiness) which helps to improve the mood and anxiety caused by PMS.
How to consume in a healthy way?
To enjoy all the benefits of this tuber, avoid consuming it with bad fats (like oils). For this, it is worth roasting or cooking the potato instead of frying it. But, if you want the same taste of French fries, you can choose to brown it with a little bit of unsalted margarine or olive oil, for example.
By making purees, you can make them healthier by adding other vegetables such as carrots, pumpkins, chayote and yams. This also applies to the filling of the baked potato.
The last tip is: if you are going to use the potato to make pasta (like breads, dumplings and gnocchi), choose to use whole ingredients (like wheat flour) and skimmed ingredients (like milk).
How to plant?
The ideal temperature for the potato to develop should vary between 15 ° C and 25 ° C. If the soil temperature exceeds 27 ° C, the potato tends to suspend the production of the tuber, to prevent it from overheating and spoiling. One of the ways to avoid conditions is to water the soil frequently, always keeping it moist, but without excess.
Another detail that contributes for the potato to grow correctly is the solar luminosity, which should not be scarce or in excess.
This root needs about 3 to 4 hours of direct sunlight, every day. In warm regions (such as the north and northeast of Brazil), the potato must be grown in greenhouses with screens that guarantee sun protection, thus preventing it from burning.
The base of the potato must be covered with new soil every 30 days. This also prevents the potato from having that greener side (which indicates that it is sunburned).
The minimum recommended space for planting is 30 cm³ (that is, width, length and depth with that dimension).
Harvesting is done between 100 and 150 days after planting. This time varies depending on the climate and the type of potato that has been sown.
In general, they can be harvested when the leaves are yellow and the roots are loosening easily from the soil.
This tuber is widely used in cooking, and it is possible to prepare it in several ways: roasted, fried, boiled, gratin, as a puree, etc.
If you have questions about how or how much to consume to have a balanced diet, consult a nutritionist. The Healthy Minute team brings other information about food . Follow our posts !!!