I am from Idaho. If there’s one thing my non-Idahoan friends know about Idaho, and there usually is only one thing, it’s potatoes. Potato this, potato that, spud, tater, tuber, murphy, it’s the only thing that comes to mind. While this may seem unfortunate, Idaho has come to embrace its quirky identity, even dropping a 17 foot long, lit-up spud from the sky to kick off the new year. No, really.
Potatoes often get a bad rap. “Health” sites tout them as starch bombs that will blow your waistline several inches per tater. But the truth is, if kale was deep fried, topped with mayo, smothered in salt, and drenched in cheese, we probably wouldn’t think of it as the healthiest food either. Potatoes are an amazing root in so many different ways. Here’s exactly what you need to know:
- Potatoes have lots of healthy fiber. Including the skin, a potato has 7 grams of fiber, about a quarter of of what’s recommended for a healthy daily diet.
- Potatoes are the most satiating food per 1000 kj of energy. Delicious, nutritious, and filling; the trifecta of food.
- Potatoes are loaded with potassium. More potassium, in fact, than the famed banana. Potassium is a mineral that helps lower blood pressure and is also important for athletic performance since it gets sweated out.
- Potatoes were the first vegetable grown in space. Really, the most unrealistic aspect of Star Wars and Interstellar is the lack of spuds.
- There are literally thousands of ways to prepare potatoes. One of the healthiest is the baked potato, my personal favorite being Hassleback Baked Potatoes. Here’s a recipe from our friends at U Penn.
- Many disease-fighting phytochemicals are found in potatoes. One is quercetin, which is a powerful antioxidant and is a good immune system booster.
- Potatoes come in over 100 varieties and an incredible array of colors. From Red Potatoes to Purple Potatoes there’s practically the full spectrum of light.
- Potatoes are rich in vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 is involved in many aspects of the metabolism, neurotransmitter synthesis, histamine synthesis, hemoglobin synthesis, and gene expression. Woah!
- Potato blossoms used to be a big hit in royal fashion. Marie Antoinette wore them in her hair. I say we bring this trend back, but with full potatoes rather than the blossoms.
- Idaho really does produce the most potatoes. Its climate of warm days and cool nights provides the ideal conditions for murphy making. In 2005, Idaho produced a whopping 116,975,000,000 pounds of potatoes.
Some Amazing Potato Recipes: