Today we talk health benefit of potatoes, Irish in particular. It is called Solanum tuberosum. I will begin with a bit of history so as to shed some light on the name itself. Just so you know, Irish Potato is not from Ireland. It is just a misnomer (the name is inaccurate, incorrectly applied). According to research, Irish Potato originated from the highland of Boloivia (Peru) in South America. The crop moved out of South America to Spain in 1570; to England in 1585; then to Ireland by Spanish explorers from 1963.
It was later introduced into Nigeria early in the 20th Century by European miners in Jos Plateau where climate is favourable for the crop (Global Journal of HUMAN SOCIAL SCIENCE Geography, Geo-Sciences, Environmental Disaster Management 2013). As of 2015, it was the fourth largest yielding crop plant in the world. They are called Irish Potatoes because they look like potatoes – but they are really not Irish reported Kitchenchef.com. Ireland only became so popular such that it acquired the misnomer of “Irish Potato” Irish or no Irish, potatoes generally are tubers. They come in many sizes and shapes.
A medium-sized potato according to the America’s National Potato Council CEO John Keeling “is 110 calories”. It “has no fat, no sodium, no cholesterol, and provides nearly a third of the daily vitamin C requirement with more potassium than a banana”. There are thousands of varieties of potatoes grown worldwide and fall into three basic categories: starchy, waxy, and those in-between these are referred to as all-purpose. Irish potatoes are typically in the “white potato” group and of waxy and starchy types- fluffy mashed and perfect for salad. You can have your potatoes anyway y which way you like: cooked, baked, roasted, and boiled. The nutritional content of potatoes can vary depending on the variety and how they are prepared.
Apparently, large population of the world including myself loves fried potatoes and frying potatoes according to Nutritionist adds more calories and fat than any other kind of cooking. A 2017 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (reported by CNN health in June of that year) also found that: “People who eat fried potatoes two or more times a week double their risk of an early death compared to those who avoid them”. You may want to choose a new preference.
- Irish potatoes are packed with a variety of nutrients: Nutritionists say they are an excellent source of many vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B6, potassium, copper, vitamin C, folate, iron, manganese, phosphorus, niacin, and pantothenic acid among other beneficial phytochemicals. Some of these vitamins help boost brain functioning while relieving of stress especially vitamin B6. Most of the nutrients are located in the skin of the potatoes, so you may choose not to remove the skin.
- It helps improve digestive health: Nutritionists have explained that when resistant starch in the potato reaches the large intestine, it becomes food for beneficial gut bacteria. These bacteria digest it and turn it into short-chain fatty acids. It could make good choice for babies and patients who may find digestion difficult
- Irish Potato controls Blood Sugar: Various researches have linked resistant starch to many health benefits, including reducing insulin resistance, which, in turn, improves blood sugar control. A nutritionist at Amazon Nutrition Cabinet in Kigali (Private Kamanzi) says “Irish potatoes contain a special type of starch known as resistant starch. One can “increase the resistant starch content of potatoes” by to storing “boiled potatoes in the fridge overnight and consume them when they are cold,” It prevents obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes
- Helps to eliminating gluten related health problems: gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, , barley, rye, semo etc. These types of foods contain gluten that sometimes result to discomfort such as sharp stomach pain, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, skin rashes among other symptoms especially in patients with Celiac disease- i.e those who have immune reaction to eating such food. I don’t think many experience adverse symptoms from consuming such in this part of the world. But never say never.
They are one of the cheapest foods available and relatively inexpensive. You could get a small paint bucket of Irish Potato say from #700. Earlier in January there was a reports that the price of the produce has slightly gone up between N12,000 and N18,000 per bag because of the low supply especially in the North. But you get few tubers of some other type like sweet potato from #100 because there has been heavier demand for that type lately-this May.
Although lockdowns are being eased across the world; This is the fourth week since the gradual easing of the lockdown took effect in Lagos. Many countries including Nigeria are planning to be back in full operation this coming month–June. However, let’s keep in mind that Corona Virus is still spreading. Always keep your hands clean frequently with either soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Keep social distancing. Keep protecting yourself by wearing a facemask at all times.