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Curiosities
Potatoes

Did you know about places in the world that live consuming mainly potatoes?

Just like that, as far as ridiculous it may seem.

These tubers contain a lot of those nutritional properties, so that you can guarantee everyone an adequate and balanced nutrient supply.

It’s hard to imagine a diet without potatoes nowadays. They became somehow one of the most popular and acknowledged food on the planet. Potato-lovers will be pleased to know that potatoes have nutritional values which go beyond carbohydrates and calories.  

 

Potatoes nutrients: some good reason for eating more

Each type of potatoes is rich of carbohydrates, namely the fuel source which is essential for the well-being of our muscles and brain.

These tubers contain a reasonable amount of calories and a great amount of healthy fibers and furthermore vitamins and minerals- really important fact appreciated by worldwide nutritionists.

Potatoes are low-cal, they don’t contain cholesterol neither fats, but they do have a significant amount of vitamin C and potassium, as well as being a source of vitamin B-6 and iron.

A medium size potato can supply about 110 calories in carbohydrates form and nearly 8% of our fibers RDA, approximately 45% of vitamin C RDA and nearly 18% of RDA of potassium, a mineral which is essential for the muscle-contractility regulation which aims at reducing water retention and coordinating the nerve transmission.

Every child in the world often refuse to eat vegetables, but all of them adore potatoes, also because of the thousand ways they can be prepared.

There’s no child in the world who doesn’t like fried potatoes or the purée.

This is the unusual but magic quality of these curious tubers that makes them even more lovable and absolutely favorite.

They’re easy to find, since they are nearly in all the main countries according to its varieties and they can be prepared in dozen ways.

 

Potatoes varieties: not everybody knows that…

Potatoes are available in a huge range of colors, among which white, yellow, red, lilac and even blue.

They’re even ranked according to their starch content. High starch-content potatoes are usually used for the French fries, roast potatoes and potato purée.

Low starch-content potatoes are those with a yellow flesh and they’re called “waxy potatoes”: with these potatoes are usually prepared some excellent potatoes salads, because they preserve their compactness and they don’t crush themselves.

While every type of potatoes contains almost the same nutrients and the same amount of carbohydrates, the most colorful varieties, those who are so difficult to find in our country, also contain pigments called carotenoid and flavonoid which help our organism in protecting against the cancer. Dark-yellow potatoes contain beta-carotene, a nutrient the body uses to produce vitamin A.

There is another variety of potatoes in addition to the others: the sweet ones.

Strictly speaking, sweet potatoes aren’t real potatoes since they come from a different plant-family, but they’re related to. Potatoes we generally know come from the botanic family of Solonacee, while sweet potatoes come from the Convolvulaceae one.

Sweet potatoes are easy to identify because of their unusual colors: orange, white, red and golden. The orange variety is also called yam. Sweet potatoes are richer of manganese than the traditional ones and have a high beta-carotene content. In contrast with traditional potatoes, these ones contain no alkaloids, elements which, even if rarely, can cause an allergic reaction in some people.

As you can see, there are so many types and varieties of potatoes.

These depend on the dissimilar climates that control the different continents, but also depend on atmosphere, pollution, kind of soil, humidity, sun exposure etc. but, be careful, you don’t have to confuse potatoes for the American potatoes, also called “batate”, and for manioc, both different by structure and by botanical branch, truly being tuberose roots.

 

Benefits related to a constant potatoes consumption.

Potatoes represent one of the most common and important food supply on the planet.

As previously said, these show an abundance of health-benefits such as to be considered fundamental foodstuffs for most of the world population.

These health-benefits include the ability of improving digestion, reducing cholesterol levels, improving the healthiness of the heart, preserve cancer and diabetes, promoting water retention and so on.

Scientific evidence proves that a regular potatoes consumption implies the enhancement of the immune system, the decrease of the ageing symptoms and the enhancement of the natural therapy for rheumatisms and arthrosis.

 

Some oddity about potatoes…

The term “patata” can refer both to the plant and the whole tuber in most of its varieties. Its scientific name is Solanum tuberosum. These vegetables have American origins, probably in the Andes, and mainly cultivated in Peru and Bolivia. The story tells that potatoes had been cultivated somewhere between 7.000 and 10.000 years ago in some central region of South America. Wild potatoes still grow in some areas of the Americas, but they’ve been introduced in other world areas just 400-500 years ago. These vegetables now prevail in the world as the fourth biggest plantation. More than one third of worldwide potatoes are currently cultivated in China and India, where they stand for a fundamental part of their cooking, as well as some nearby countries cuisine. Potatoes may seem massive, but 70-80% of their weight is water. So, the belief of fattening by eating potatoes, also probably related to its sense of repletion, is actually unfounded. It deals with the preparation method instead, which determines an increase in terms of calories. In this sense, think about the difference between a dish of boiled potatoes and French fries.

If, for example, during the preparation are used huge amount of butter or are fried, the content of fats and cholesterol increases significantly. The potato satiates but doesn’t fatten if boiled. It can be easily assimilated and from a nutritional point of view it’s a good thing because it contains 3 essential amino-acids such as leucine, isoleucine and lysin that, among other things, considerably decrease when they get fried. Lipids contained in the potatoes, as well as in nature, contain unsaturated fatty acids that are very good for health; this implies that there are in addition those damaging only if not genuinely cooked.

What to do with potatoes peel:

Potatoes peel, always considered as a waste, represents indeed the part in which vitamin C, but also potassium and calcium are included.

Just for this reason it is recommended to boil them always with the peel and, when they’re boiled, it would be good remove as few as possible peel.

It’s good removing even the underlying part of the peel if the tuber is green, since there is a greater concentration of solanine, a substance that could be toxic.

It’s the same substance present in the potatoes preserved for too long: these ones gradually grow rich in shoots, increasing in this way the amount of solanine.

That’s why it’s important choosing always fresh but not green potatoes varieties.

For the same purpose it’s important to have a good method of potatoes preservation.

It is better to place the corresponding potato bags in dark places, not sun exposed by periodically removing the shoots which tend to grow on the surface.

If the tuber begins to show a big amount of long young shoots please avoid its consumption, especially if raw, because in these conditions they can cause headache and fever.

Cosmetic uses of potatoes

Potato is not only an excellent food you can prepare thousands natural and healthy dishes.

Its flesh can be also intended for cosmetic uses, for example, for the skin hydration.

For this purpose, you only need to squash the cooked pulp, add a bit of olive oil, a yoghurt teaspoon, better if whole, and apply the obtained mixture for 30 minutes.

Vitamins C and B, as well as minerals as magnesium, phosphor, potassium and zinc, are excellent skin allies indeed. Even if the pulp obtained by crumbled raw potatoes, if mixed with honey, can act as great mask for the skin-face which acquires brightness at contact with potatoes and appearing smoother, more compact and with less black spots.

Even dark circles, eyebags and crow’s feet can benefit from potatoes, as well as for chapped hands.

 

Potatoes herbal use:

Potatoes can also be set for internal use as natural remedy for several disorders. Among these:

  • Ulcer: only half glass juice before each meal;
  • Hemorrhoids: a juice teaspoon 3-4 times per day is enough;
  • Water retention: for its purpose, a decoction prepared with potato peel boiled for 5 minutes in a liter of water is an effective panacea to drink 2-3 times per day, better if without food;
  • Hypertension: 2 cups decoction per day described above;
  • Edemas: 2 decoction spoons as prepared above 4 times per day.

Surprising is the efficacy of the potatoes destined for external use in all these cases:

  • To alleviate contusions: apply on the concerned area a boiled and squashed potato for 20 minutes;
  • To alleviate frostbite: apply on the concerned area a raw shred potato mixed with a bit of olive oil for 15 minutes;
  • For sunburns or scalds: apply some slices of raw potatoes for 10 minutes;
  • In case of intestinal colic: apply on the abdomen, cooked and squashed, inserting a bandage for almost 30 minutes;
  • In case of teeth decay or ache: put some raw potatoes slices on the check, raw and shred for almost 30 minutes;
  • In case of dark spots on the skin: raw shred potatoes are perfect to lighten a dark skin, especially on knees and elbows.

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