Potato is the most commonly eaten food product all over the world. It is among the top four largest food crops; the other three are maize, wheat and rice. It has been estimated that an average person anywhere in the world eats around 33kg of potatoes every year.
Potato contains lots of carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins. Its nutritional value is best known for the rich amount of carbohydrate (in the form of starch) that it provides. A small portion of this starch goes directly to the large intestine and is known as resistant starch. It is very beneficial for health, as it reduces fat storage, increases satiety, decreases plasma cholesterol, improves insulin sensitivity, makes glucose tolerance more effective and even protects the body against colon cancer. However, it is the specific cooking method of potato dishes that determine the amount of resistant starch it can provide. For example, the amount of resistant starch can considerably be enhanced by up to 90% when cooked potato is eaten after cooling it thoroughly. The overall nutrient availability of potato dishes also varies depending on its preparation methods, but in general, a medium-size potato with its skin provides 0.2mg of Vitamin B6, 620mg of potassium and 27mg of Vitamin C. Other nutrients that it provides in trace amounts include: zinc, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, niacin, folate, riboflavin and thiamin. However, because of the high amount of carbohydrate content, excessive intake of potatoes is believed to make a person obese.
Common Potato Dishes
Some of the most common potato dishes include: potato pancakes, grated potatoes formed into dumplings, small thin strips of potatoes grated and fried, home fries, roasted potatoes cut into cubes, finger chips, potato chips, French fried potatoes, steamed or boiled potatoes and mashed potatoes.
It takes around ten to twenty-five minutes to make potatoes soft through boiling. Where other foods tend to lose their nutritional value to a great extent when they are cooked in a microwave oven, potatoes retain their nutritional quality. Potatoes are widely used in brewing of alcohol beverages like akvavit, potcheen and vodka. In India, potatoes are used in various home remedies. For example, its skin is used with honey to treat burns. What is more, it's not just the food industry that uses potato starch; even textile industries use them to manufacture board, papers and adhesive.
There are over four thousand different types of potatoes, but they are broadly categorized in certain key groups as purples, yellows or Yukons, whites, reds and russets.
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