Potato Origin

By: Robert Thomson

A potato is a tuberous, starchy crop that belongs to the Solanaceae family’s perennial Solanum tuberosum. The word may be regarded to the plant itself. Along the Andes region, there are species of closely-related cultivated potatoes.
The potato is considered as the 4th largest food crop in the world. This is after wheat, maize and rice. Wild potatoes are more rampant in the US as compared to Chile and Uruguay.
Potato Origin and History
There are studies that indicate its origin can be traced to Southern Peru. There are also varieties that come from South-Central Chile about 10,000 years ago.
It was introduced in Europe in the year 1536. This was by European mariners who brought it to ports and territories around the world. There are thousands of varieties that thrives the Andes, growing along valleys and more along agricultural households.
Ever since it was established in Europe, it became a very important field crop and food staple. However, due to the lack of genetic diversity, with a few varieties being initially introduced, the crop became vulnerable to diseases.
In the year 1845, there was plant disease called late blight. It is caused by the oomycete Phytophthora infesting fungus. It spread very rapidly throughout Western Ireland’s poor communities, resulting to crop failures. This led to the famous Great Irish Famine.
Up to now, the potato is still Europe’s essential crop. Its per capita production remains that highest worldwide. As for the most rapid expansion, this is more along Eastern and Southern Asia. In fact, the largest6 producing country in the world now is China. This is while a third of its harvest is more dominant in both India and China.
Nutritional Value of the Potato
Potatoes are highly regarded for their carbohydrate content which is starch, predominantly. Only a small portion of this starch can be resistant to digestion by the enzymes of the small intestines and the stomach. This means, it can reach the large intestines intact.
This so-called “resistant starch” is very similar tot the health benefits and physiological effects of fiber. It can provide bulk; improve insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance; protect against colon cancer; lower triglyceride and plasma cholesterol concentration; reduce fat storage; and increase satiety.
The volume of resistant starch present in potatoes is dependent on the preparation methods. If you will cook and then cool potatoes, it can increase resistant starch.
In addition, potatoes have minerals and vitamins which are very vital to human nutrition. Studies have proven that we can be healthy with a diet of merely milk and potatoes, with the latter supplying Vitamins D and A to the body.
Potatoes also have Vitamin C, potassium, Vitamin B6 and trace amounts of riboflavin, thiamin, niacin, folate, phosphorous, magnesium, zinc and iron. Its fiber can be comparable to several whole grain products like pasta, bread and cereal.
The potato also has phytochemicals like polyphenols and carotenoids. Although there are theories that its skin is just as vital as the content, its skin only possesses half of the total dietary fiber as compared to the nutrients inside the potato. It is the cooking method the plays a significant role in the nutrient availability. As for protein which is present under the skin of the potato, you can get this by consuming the potato whole or peeled subsequent to cooking.

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Jimmy Hendrix is a freelance writer who is the author of articles such as The history of Potatoe's, How to Boil Potatoes, and How to Bake a Potato Visit Potato Origin.

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