Potato – Helping us to survive for centuries PART 2
Thanks to the potato, between 1793 and 1840 the population of Ireland increased from 1.5 million to 9 million. Without this feeding source the country could feed just 5 million. To not forget that back then was a lack of grain across the globe. However, let’s not believe that from now the things have ended well. Was a series of diseases that affected the potato since 1750. Finally, the growers have learned how to produce innumerable varieties that stand today at our disposal.
The potato is the best bundle of food in the world: rich in glucides, proteins with all essential amino acids, minerals and vitamins, being also free of fat. Land planted with potatoes produce more tonnes and more calories per hectare than any other crop, the world average being 13.5 tonnes per hectare – four times more than rice crops and five times more than that of wheat. North America farmers get 37 tons of potatoes per hectare!
The potato grows very fast. In the tropics can be harvest after 2 months and can grow almost everywhere, from desert areas to waterlogged land of cool summer and damp in Scotland or in the almost sterile soil in Sweden.
Moreover, the potatoes are suitable to improving with techniques of modern genetic manipulation. Currently, the potato world production is around 280 million tonnes per year, being the most valuable harvest, after rice, wheat and corn.
The potato production in developing countries increases faster than any other food crop. At the beginning of XXI century, 34% of world production has been achieved in the developing countries, compared to 4% in 1950. The fastest grow is done in China, where in the past 3 years, the potato production tripled. This way, China has ranked Russia, which in the past was the largest producer of potatoes in the world. In the present, Russia ranks sixth.
In Vietnam, after rice, potatoes are the richest harvest. There, as well as in China and India due to very short development time, potatoes can be the second harvest on the rice lands.
Since it grows in the dark, the potato is not green, and after harvest should be stored in a dark place for not become green. Green potatoes should not be consumed, as it contains alkaloid solanine. In fact the unripe green tomatoes, contain solanine and should not be consumed, no matter how tasty they are as pickles.
Potatoes are a a very healthy food. Contains approximately 15% glucides in the form of starch and 2% protein with all the essential amino acids. Also, contains appreciable amounts of potassium, B group vitamins, vitamin C and 400 micrograms iron per 100 grams. Having an alkalizing effect, helps to maintain the fluid and electrolyte balance in the body.
200 g of potatoes only contain 140 kcal, instead offers 30 mg of vitamin C, 12 mg calcium, 800 mg potassium, 80 mg phosphorus, and other mineral substances.
Potatoes does NOT fatten! What fatten are the added fats. A 200 g potato has only 140 kcal. If they are ate with butter or margarine will have 420 kcal. As fried will be 530 kcal and as chips provide 870 kcal and fats of the worst quality. Despite that it’s consumed in industrial quantities, we warn that the most unhealthy way to eat this so useful food is the consumption of fried potatoes and chips. Besides many calories, the roasted oil has a large amount of fatty acids TRANS, guilty of increasing the cholesterol and the emergence of cancer forms. The frozen commercially potatoes contain a large amount of fat of the worst quality too.
Potatoes are a very healthy food, if used without fats.