Nutritional value of the potato
Nutritional value of the potato
The potato (Solanum Tuberosum L.) is a herbaceous plant of the Solanaceae family originally from a South America area that includes: Peru, Bolivia, Mexico and Chile.
This plant was brought to Europe by the Spaniards in the 16th century around 1570.
Also because of its ancient cultivation, spontaneous varieties are not known nor is it known from which sort originally of Solanum the potato spread by Central and South America originated.
The potato is now grown all over the world from temperate to subtropical areas, in very different climatic conditions.
Its tubers can be used as a basic food, as an income collected, as animal feed and as a source of starch for many industrial uses. In the last quarter of a century, world production has increased by 32%, against the decrease in the cultivated surface. The major producers are China, India, Ukraine, Russia and the United States of America which contribute to 53% of its production.
The potato plant can be recognized for the pushing-compliment, consisting of 7-9 leaflets of different sizes and alternating, with smooth or serrated margins.
The leaves depart from stems that have an erect bearing and are 60 to 150 cm high; Reached maturity take on a prostrate bearing and often yellow.
It produces inflorescences that are brought in a terminal position and consist of pentamer flowers. These are of a color that varies from pure white to light violet, they have yellow stamens.
The fruit of the potato is a yellowish pulpy berry which, due to the high quantity of the toxic alkaloid sonina contained inside them, are not edible.
However, some varieties, also for questions related to hybridizations that produced the varieties cultivated in Europe, have lost the ability to produce fruits.
The edible part of the potato are the tubers that develop from the swelling of the terminal, hypogean part, of the long underground stolons. The swelling is formed for the transport and accumulation of carbohydrates photosyntysed by the aerial part of the plant, when it reaches maturity. The tubers, therefore, act as a reserve body.
The tubers have a thin epidermis covered with small lenticles, subject to conditions of lack of water. The presence of water favors the growth of cortical cells that break the cork and form openings in the grooves.
Nutritional card –
The potato tubers have a high water content (about 78.5 grams per 100 grams of food) and contain a lot of fiber.
The less is the content in proteins even if they are of high biological quality, about a par with those of the eggs. The fats are almost absent and it is, however, the polyunsaturated ones, therefore good, while, as for all foods of vegetable origin, there is no cholesterol “.
The content of carbohydrates (in particular starch) is high, which is why potatoes are often considered on a par with food with a greater content of complex sugars, or cereals.
As for micronutrients, these tubers are very rich in vitamins (C, A, B3, B1, B2, B6) and minerals (potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, zinc, copper, iron). In addition, “the potatoes among their nutritional values have numerous phytocomposed, with well-known antioxidant properties, such as lutein, zeoxantine, beta-carotene, chlorogenic acid”. Finally, although the belief that potatoes have high calories is widespread, in reality the value is average (86 per 100 grams of food).
The nutritional values of potato tubers, for 100 g, are:
– 80 kcal;
– proteins 2.1 g;
– Carbohydrates 18 g;
– 0.4 g sugars;
– fat 0.1 g;
– Fiber 1.6 g.
The potatoes, for their particular composition, bring important benefits.
Thanks to the good fiber content, the potato is able to reduce the absorption of fats, sugars and cholesterol, while stimulating intestinal activity and carrying out a remarkable satiating effect. The content of vitamin C (although, being thermolable, it is partly lost with cooking) makes the potato an important ally for the health of the skin, muscles and bones: vitamin C, moreover, promotes iron absorption of vegetable origin and is a powerful antioxidant.
They also contain a perfect sodium-power relationship; A very useful relationship to the proper function of heart, circulatory apparatus, and muscles. They are poor instead of sodium that in excessive quantities it is harmful in particular of the cardiovascular system and the kidneys.
It should also be underlined as the good content of water, favoring diuresis, carries out a draining and, at the same time, purifying action, purifying the intestine and eliminating toxins, an important benefit for the body.
The potato is of great help for sportsmen, thanks to the content of vitamin B6, necessary to remove glycogen, reserve sugar stored in the muscles and liver and which is used, in fact, in case of prolonged efforts or athletic performance. Potatoes are good sources of iron and folic acid, fundamental substances for the production of red blood cells, so they are also useful for preventing or treating anemias.
To mention also the slightly sedative properties of the potatoes, which favor sleep and calm the cough, in particular that of nervous origin.
Finally, do not forget how the antioxidants present in the potatoes protect from the action of free radicals and therefore from cellular aging. Finally, among the properties of the potatoes, there is that of containing a few breaths, compounds capable of seizure beneficial trace elements, including iron and zinc, for which they make absorption much more effectively than other plants, which present greater a greater quantity of breath.