It is, perhaps, difficult to find a person who would not like potatoes, but not everyone has the same attitude towards them: adherents of separate nutrition believe that potatoes cannot be eaten with meat, and supporters of diets are sure that they should not be eaten at all! Our nutritionist Oleg Vladimirov tells whether these statements are true.
The name "potato", as linguists believe, came to the Russian language from German, and the Germans, in turn, borrowed from the Italians the basis of this word, the closest analogue of which is "truffle". The potatoes themselves were brought to Russia from Latin America during the time of Peter I, but at first, unknowingly, they did not accept it as a food crop - they tried to eat beautiful berries from the bush, but they are poisonous! The first experience turned out to be so unpleasant that, even when the error was clarified, the peasants resisted the introduction of the new product with all their might: they stubbornly called the potatoes a damn apple and considered it a sin to eat them. Having overcome a series of potato riots, by the middle of the XNUMXth century, potatoes had become one of the most widespread agricultural crops, practically displacing other root crops due to higher yields than theirs. Its popularity was so great that even the classic pancake recipe did not contain wheat flour, but chopped potatoes!
Interestingly, the great-grandfather was one of the first experiments in breeding and storing potatoes in Russia. Pushkin Abram Hannibal, in honor of which the most widespread variety grown in Russian gardens was named by scientists "Hannibal" - the people called this potato with bluish sprouts and peel "blue eyes".
In Latin America, potatoes were domesticated many centuries ago, but in some places the cultivation of ancient varieties has survived, and they have bitter tubers. The Andes Indians came up with an original way to eliminate this bitterness - they were waiting for it to freeze and become sweet! In our country, frozen potatoes are considered spoiled, although they have become of little use only due to the impossibility of baking and boiling them, and fried dishes have always been considered only festive, ceremonial. There is nothing harmful in frozen potatoes, just starch has broken down into more elementary and easily digestible carbohydrates. But green and sprouted potatoes are actually dangerous, like berries, because they contain a poisonous substance - solanine, which stains the tubers green.
Most of all potatoes contain starch, while protein contains all the amino acids that plants have, including those essential for humans. 300 g of boiled potatoes per day - and the body has covered all the need for carbohydrates, potassium, phosphorus and other minerals. Just remember that the closer to the center of the potato, the more starch there, and all the most useful is near the peel, in the very layer that is usually thrown away with inaccurate cleaning. Fiber of potatoes does not have an irritating effect on the mucous membrane of the gastrointestinal tract, and even with exacerbation of ulcers and gastritis, you can eat boiled potatoes. In addition, potatoes are the champion potassium among foods and are therefore extremely beneficial for people with heart and kidney problems.
As for starch, the main component of potatoes, it is precisely in its content that numerous varieties of this plant differ from each other. The labels “for cooking” or “for frying”, which have recently appeared on packages, are not at all accidental: varieties with a high starch content are suitable for making mashed potatoes and soups, and those with a low starch content are suitable for frying and other cooking.
For a long time, there was a myth that, due to the large amount of starch, eating potatoes leads to significant weight gain and obesity. As scientists recently found out, the starch in potatoes even accelerates the metabolism in the body, it was not for nothing that in the hungry era of the first reformer president of the USSR, bodybuilders built muscle well on the only products available then - pasta and potatoes grown with their own hands.
The starch contained in potatoes has a number of important and beneficial properties:
- gives us energy (adherents of diets: to replenish the daily energy requirement, you need to eat 3-4 kg of potatoes per day);
- protects the body from inflammation;
- has anti-sclerotic properties, normalizing the concentration of cholesterol in the body;
- evens out the level of sugar in the blood, since potatoes have an average glycemic index.
But the refined starch extracted from potatoes does not bring any benefit to the body! It is put in mayonnaise, and in meat products, and in bakery and confectionery products, but mostly of low quality. An excess of them in the diet provokes atherosclerosis, hormonal disruptions and other problems in the body.