“Then God said, ‘I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.’”
I love potatoes.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get on with the post.
Potatoes are starchy tubers that grow underground and serve as the fuel source for the potato plant. They are members of the perennial nightshade family Solanum tuberosum. The potato plant does indeed produce seeds, but potatoes are usually cultivated by planting other potatoes so that the crop is a genetic clone of the seed potato. However, due to the seed-bearing capability of potato plants, I say it is biblically meant for human consumption (Genesis 1:29).
Potatoes are comprised of approximately 92% carbohydrates, 1% fat, and 7% protein (based on averages from cronometer.com). This means potatoes, similar to beans and grains, are high in starch and fiber, so they have incredible potential to slim the waistline and drop weight, but this potential often tragically goes untapped. Also, the proteins in sweet potatoes have been tested to show possible cancer-fighting effects (Li et al. 2013, Pandey et al. 2002, Yao et al. 2011, Huang et al. 2007).
In addition to their health benefits, potatoes (sweet potatoes in particular) may be the cheapest health food on the planet, providing the “most nutrients per dollar” (Drewnowski 2013). Potatoes are the 4th largest food crop in the world, surpassed by maize, wheat, and rice (United Nations 2009). This large crop drives prices down to make them affordable for any budget. I get sweet potatoes for 79 cents each at Trader Joe’s, and they are cheaper still when bought in bulk.
There are nearly 4,000 varieties of potatoes in the world (Roach 2002)! Some potatoes that I have seen in the store are the russet potato, the Yukon gold potato, the red potato, the purple potato, the Hannah sweet potato, the orange sweet potato, and of course, the coveted (but not really because that’s idolatry) purple sweet potato. Those are my favorite. These varieties can also be prepared using a seemingly infinite amount of methods. I’ve made baked potatoes, potato strips (like fries but not fried), potato wedges, steamed potatoes, mashed potatoes, soups, stews, pancakes, curries, masalas, and on and on. The potato possibilities are endless! They are so versatile they can even go to space (Wilson et al. 1998)!
References (apart from the Bible):
Drewnowski, A. New metrics of affordable nutrition: Which vegetables provide most nutrients for least cost? J Acad Nutr Diet 2013 113(9):1182 – 1187.
Huang, GJ, MJ Sheu, HJ Chen, YS Chang, YH Lin. Growth inhibition and induction of apoptosis in NB4 promyelocytic leukemia cells by trypsin inhibitor from sweet potato storage roots. J Agric Food Chem. 2007 Apr 4;55(7):2548-53.
Li, P G, T H Mu, L Deng. Anticancer effects of sweet potato protein on human colorectal cancer cells. World J Gastroenterol. 2013 19(21):3300 – 3308.
Pandey, M, V K Shukla. Diet and gallbladder cancer: A case-control study. Eur J Canc Prev 2002 11(4):365 – 368.
Roach, J. (10 June 2002). “Saving the Potato in its Andean Birthplace”. National Geographic. Retrieved 11 September 2009.
United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation. 2009. “International Year of the Potato 2008 – The potato” Retrieved 26 October 2011.
Wilson, C D, R D Pace, E Bromfield, G Jones, J Y Lu. Consumer acceptance of vegetarian sweet potato products intended for space missions. Life Support Biosph Sci 1998 5(3):339 – 346.
Yao, J, C Qian. Sporamin induce apoptosis in human tongue carcinoma cells by down-regulating Akt/GSK-3 signaling. Fundam Clin Pharmacol 2011 25(2):229 – 236
I received many of these references from nutritionfacts.org. I highly recommend this site. Every article lists sources cited so you can check the study for yourself.
Here’s an extra picture because I love potatoes so much!