The Irish may have made the potato famous (it is the most consumed vegetable in the world!), but these vegetables are also quite popular in many other regions of the world. These versatile tubers come in a variety of colors and flavors. The white potato was the primary staple crop in Ireland during the Victorian era. Heavy rain wiped out the crop and caused famine throughout the country, causing many Irish to immigrate to the US (The song “Danny Boy”, is about this).
The white potato, also known as the Irish potato, was actually brought to Europe by Spanish conquistadors of Latin America. Although it is high in carbohydrates, it is also a fat-free food that is rich in fiber, which is actually good for weight loss and maintenance. It is a good source of potassium and Vitamin C. An undressed potato is a relatively low-calorie food, but add the sour cream, bacon and other condiments and you’ll double the calories. The sweet potato is even higher Vitamin C and is especially rich in antioxidants. The full-fleshed reds, blues and purples are also good sources of carotenoids.
Stay away from the green spots on potatoes and even green potatoes (yes they exist). These contain the alkaloid, solanine, which is a chemical deadly if consumed in sufficient amounts.
Another potential problem with potatoes is contaminants. Tubers may absorb high levels of toxic compounds from the soil, including harmful herbicides and pesticides. Green nutritionists, however, recommend buying organic potatoes to avoid these contaminants.
Take it from the Irish. Good health has little to do with luck. If you can skip french fries and heavy toppings, then celebrate the nutritious potato this month. And oh, almost forgot about GREEN BEER. Try a Kombucha Synergy drink as a substitute and have a happy and safe Saint Patty’s Day!