Potato – A humble Delight or a Concerning Health Ailment

In words of Shahrukh Khan from Chennai Express, “Don’t underestimate the power of a common potato.”

The lowly potato gets a bad rep for its high carbohydrate content. All the health conscious, calorie counting, gym slogging folks have shunned potatoes from their daily diet. For them it’s a starch laden lump with no nutritional value. What if I were to say that we’ve been eating this humble tuber the wrong way? Don’t fry it, just bake it.

Also read: The Blood Group Diet

Yes we Indians have a tendency to deep fry all vegetables, be it a potato, ladyfinger, cauliflower or mushroom. Once fried, potato loses most of its Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, potassium & other micro nutrients which actually make it a super food.

2.	Potato - concerning health ailment

More over the Folate present in potatoes help fight against many forms of cancer, most notably colon-rectal (intestinal) cancer. So next time your gym buddy tells you, “aalu khayega toh aalu jaise ho jayega”, do enlighten him about this fact.

My favorite thing about potato is that it tastes great no matter how you cook it. Add it to the flavorless beans or stuff it in a parantha. Mash it, grill it or bake it!  Potatoes are a staple world over, Europe being the largest consumer of the crop.

Can you imagine a world without the humble potato? There would be no French fries, tikkis, samosas, batata vada, dum aaloo, aaloo chaat or wafers. Yes, yes I know I named all the unhealthy options. But tell you what; it would be a boring place to live in. I mean, how long can you really survive on ghiya and tinde? For me, green vegetables were made edible only by adding potatoes to them. As a kid when I would shy away from eating soya nuggets or spinach, mom would add boiled potatoes to them and the dish would become palatable.

I thank the people of Peru who first cultivated the crop some 800 years ago. It made its way in India in the mid 1800’s when colonial rule began. It was first grown on the slopes of Dehradun and later became the staple of every household. The three major reasons behind the success of potato as a crop are- it can adapt to any weather, it grows in bulk easily and it’s pretty cheap. A single acre of potato can feed a family of 5-6 for about a year!

Also, before you throw away the skin of potato just know that it contains about half the daily requirement of Vitamin C.

Mr. & Mrs. Potato head from Toy Story would be overjoyed with my research on their kind. So folks, welcome them with open arms. Don’t give-up on the starchy tuber just yet….

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