Experts push for potatoes to be re-assessed for their ‘clear’ nutritional and health benefits

Image result for potatoes are good for youFor decades, potatoes have been branded unhealthy and we have been advised to avoid consuming too many of them. But now, researchers say that consuming the popular tuber is actually good for you. In fact, they claim that you could eat potatoes, and nothing else, for the rest of your life and ‘remain pretty healthy‘. In a medical U-turn, scientists who reviewed a host of evidence are pushing for potatoes to be reassessed for their ‘clear’ health benefits. They have uncovered evidence in a 60-page report that the humble crop could slash the risk of having a heart attack and may even protect against dementia. Professor Derek Stewart, from the James Hutton Institute in Scotland, and co-author of the report said: “The studies we looked at found a whole raft of different benefits. If you have to live the rest of your life on just one thing, you could do it on potatoes and remain pretty healthy. There are not many crops you can say that about. …Other research has found a strong association with enhanced cognitive function in the elderly if they’re eating potatoes.” The full report can be downloaded as a pdf file. Or go to this page and follow the appropriate link.

McDonald’s french fries might cure hair loss, study finds

Just in case you needed another excuse to supersize your McDonald’s fries, everyone’s favourite crispy potatoes may actually help treat hair loss. Researchers at Yokohama National University in Japan discovered that an ingredient in McDonald’s crispy potato recipe may help with hair regrowth, Refinery29 reports. The study found that “Dimethylpolysiloxane,” a silicone that’s added to the oil to prevent splashing, can aid in the regeneration of “follicle germs” (aka, the spots where new follicles grow out). Dimethylpolysiloxane is an anti-foaming agent made of silicone added to the oil used to cook the famous fries. The silicone yielded some pretty impressive results after three days, which gives all those hair masks we’ve splurged on a run for their money. But there is a catch: The tests were only run on mice hair, not human hair. More

Potatoes: The key to providing food for potential Martian colonists in the future?

Image result for potatoes marsFew can call themselves more of a potato enthusiast than the Weather Channel’s science editor, James Crugnale. He, like a growing number of spud science aficionados, believe the potato is the key to providing food for potential Martian colonists in the future. “Potatoes are one of nature’s most fantastic vegetables,” Crugnale told Inverse at the Inverse Lunar Eclipse Party and Science Fair at Caveat in New York City, where he explained just how hardcore taters can be. “They can be grown under very harsh circumstances. They’re one of our most versatile vegetables,” he said. “What’s so amazing about them is that they’re almost like the tardigrades of vegetables. They can go to some alien turf and still you can find a way to grow them, unlike many other foods. They’re water bears in the ground, pretty much.” More

Idaho potato company wants to bring more organic potatoes to market

Everything Potatoes, Inc. is the brain child of Sandy Bragg, president, and husband Jeff Bragg, vice president, whose mission is to offer a healthier potato option as far and wide as possible while still being involved in every stage of development. The organic potato market has been a growing niche market the last few years as people gravitate towards organics for better health and flavor. Everything Potatoes, Inc. offers a colorful mix of seed potato and fresh potato varieties, from Russian banana to Rose Finn Apple fingerlings to Huckleberry Gold. Their ultimate goal is to grow potatoes for the school system for a low price, as well as promote the idea of knowing where food comes from. The company needs the public’s votes to earn a grant that would help them expand their business tremendously. More

Potatoes USA now largest commodity backer of national school salad bar campaign

Image result for salad bars to schoolsThis week, Potatoes USA announced the latest part of the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools campaign, which donates salad bars to school districts in need. The campaign, launched via the United Fresh Start Foundation, has found a major backer in Potatoes USA, which has become the biggest individual commodity donor to the program, donating more than 280 salad bars so far. Over the next 21 weeks, the group will donate salad bars to one school district per week – offering an opportunity to encourage more healthy eating of fruits and vegetables in schools. Potatoes USA Global Marketing Manager Rachael Lynch says that potatoes are often a key beneficiary of the salad bars. “I’ve seen operators use salad bars as creative topping bars for fresh baked potatoes, yogurt and so much more,” she said in a news releaseContinue reading

Scientists say eating potatoes could help combat dementia

People shopping at a market and person undertaking a brain examMove over goji berries and green tea and make way for the humble tattie. The latest research suggests potatoes can play a significant role in helping combat everything from heart attacks to cancer and strokes and now it seems they could even stave off dementia. Agricultural research scientists from Scotland’s James Hutton Institute (JHI) believe it’s time to put spuds back on the menu as a healthy and nutritious part of a balanced diet. The call comes from Professor Derek Stewart and his colleague Mark Taylor, who recently completed a new study reviewing the latest research into potatoes and nutrition for the Agricultural and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB). “The studies we looked at found a whole raft of different health benefits. If you had to live the rest of your life on just one thing, you could do it on potatoes and remain pretty healthy. There are not many crops you can say that about. …Research has found a strong association with enhanced cognitive function in the elderly if they’re eating potatoes, although they haven’t yet identified an underpinning cause.” More

Canada: State of the art food safety equipment adds value to Prince Edward Island table potatoes

The P.E.I. potato harvest is quickly wrapping up for 2017 with good quality, average yields and strong prices for growers. The industry is worth an estimated $1 billion annually to the provincial economy. (P.E.I. Potato Board)It will now be possible for a Prince Edward Island fresh potato processing operation to inspect the inside of potatoes with new technology called the Sherlock Separator-2400. On Friday, RWL Holdings Ltd received more than $400,000 provincial funding to acquire and install specialized food safety equipment. The Sherlock Separator, manufactured by Austrian based company Insort, is a chemical imaging machine that uses new technology to inspect the inside of potatoes without removing the skin. The machine makes RWL in Prince Edward Island the first location in Canada to have the ability to screen raw potatoes for foreign material with their peelings on.  Continue reading

Europe: ‘Alarming’ acrylamide levels in crisps strengthen calls for mandatory limits

© iStockInvestigations conducted by Il Salvagente, a consumer Italian magazine, found seven out of the 18 tested samples had an acrylamide level above 800 micrograms per kilogram, exceeding benchmark levels set out by the European Union of 750 micrograms per kilogram. The highest concentrations were found in crisps made by French retail group Auchan, achieving an acrylamide level measuring 1600 micrograms per kilogram. Other crisp makers that fared badly include Lidl’s own brand at 1300, Amica Chips (1200), Pam (1000), San Carlo Classica (950), Coop (990) and Amica Chips Eldorada at 800 micrograms per kilogram. Results of the investigation were a matter of urgency for Floriana Cimmarusti, SAFE’s secretary general, who urged action to limit acrylamide levels for crisps but for other foods too. “Faced with the current exposure levels, we could benefit from more determination by setting a maximum level to reduce acrylamide in some products, starting with baby foods”, said Cimmarusti.  Continue reading

Expert report: Potatoes optimal for improving performance among endurance athletes

Image result for potato nutritionA report about high-quality carbohydrates and physical performance was recently released in the peer-reviewed journal Nutrition Today. The report focuses on commentary that took place during an expert panel. The results of the report suggest that balanced diets high in natural, carbohydrate-rich foods, including nutrient-dense potatoes, may be optimal for improving performance among elite endurance athletes. The report is aligned with numerous studies conducted over the past 40-50 years, which have suggested that carbohydrates are a primary macronutrient for sustaining and improving athletic performance. The expert commentary, “High-Quality Carbohydrates and Physical Performance,” was authored by Mitch Kanter, PhD, and is a summation of a meeting of five sports nutrition researchers and practitioners. The meeting and this published commentary were funded by the Alliance for Potato Research & Education (APRE), as part of its ongoing research efforts to understand the role of potatoes in healthful lifestyles.  Continue reading

Italy: New potato variety is rich in vitamins A and E

La patata d'oro ricchissima di vitamina A ed E (fonte: Mark Failla) © AnsaPatata d’oro” is finally here: the red skinned potato has a bright yellow flesh colour thanks to 3 bacterial genes, as well as a high vitamin A and E content that remains unaltered during cooking, as proven by tests carried out on a simulator of the human digestive system. As described in ‘Plos One’ magazine, it could be very good against diseases caused by the lack of these vitamins, especially in poorer countries. The research lasted ten years and was conducted in the Enea alla Casaccia laboratories near Rome under the supervision of the Ministry for Agricultural Policy and European Commission and with the collaboration of the Bologna Consiglio per le ricerche agricole ed economiche (CREA) and Ohio University. According to the researchers, “the genes of the Erwinia herbicola bacteria were inserted into its dna, which led to an increase in vitamin A and E levels. It was a pleasant surprise, as we had only done so to increase beta-carotene levels.” More. Report in Italian language

Sweden: Scientists are making smoothies with potato milk

Plant-based products are growing in popularity. You can enjoy steaks or cheese made of soya beans. But milk alternatives on the shelves might be made of soya, almonds, coconuts, rice, cashews or oats. If that isn’t enough, make way for potato milk. Vegans do not eat anything animal; no meat or fish, no milk, cheese, eggs or even honey. Everything has to come from plants. This can be difficult, as animal products or by-products dominate the market. This is one of the reasons why the Swedish food researcher Eva Tornberg wanted to create potato milk. The plan is to produce and sell the product as an alternative to milk, yoghurt, cream and ice cream. The milk has been tested in the laboratory and in a factory and the hope is it will be commercially available next year. The first product is likely to be a smoothie made of potato milk with apple juice and fruit. More

UK: FSA prepares guide for acrylamide management

The UK Food Standard Agency (FSA) and Food Standards Scotland are working with the British Hospitality Association and other key stakeholders to develop simple guidance which will help the catering and foodservice sectors comply with new rules regarding acrylamide. Food businesses, including potato processors in the UK will be required to put in place practical steps to manage acrylamide within their food safety management systems, under new EU legislation, which will apply from April 2018. The legislation describes practical measures based upon best practice guidance developed by the food industry to mitigate acrylamide formation in a range of foods. Guidelines to aid understanding of the enforcement of the legislation will also be available in the New Year. More