Submitted to: Potato Grower
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: October 15, 2006
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Potato is often seen as a one-theme type of food. Its calorie-rich nature has become less appealing to a US consumer population that is less involved in physical labor than in previous times. The large percentage of the population that is battling being overweight also fears the potato due to media coverage of glycemic index and other factors. Opposing these forces are research developments that indicate that the potato is actually a nutrient-rich vegetable. Some of these nutrients are known benefactors of health, helping to stave off cancer, heart disease and age-related macular degeneration. Utilization of this new information will involve a many faceted approach. We need to take healthy potatoes and prepare them in ways that minimize deleterious food components and maximize potato’s vegetable status. Potatoes are excellent sources of vitamin C and potassium, and when eaten with controlled portion sizes are part of most diet programs. One hundred grams of potato is not a problem in calories. Potatoes are non-dairy and have no cholesterol. It is also possible to utilize the natural genetic variation of potato to breed red and purple anthocyanins in the flesh which have heightened antioxidant levels. In addition all potatoes have carotenoid xanthophylls which are also found in the human retina, and have been shown to ameliorate macular degeneration and cataracts when eaten in abundance. The opportunity to re-invent potato is at hand, and only the creation and stabilization of the markets need to occur.