Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Great Potato Debate

"Are potatoes a vegetable?" my roommate inquired of me as she poured her cereal into a latte bowl one morning.

"Well, of course not," I responded. "They're tubers," still trying to wake up with my morning cup of tea.

"Ah, ha! I knew it! N. and I were arguing over whether they were vegetables, and I told him they couldn't be because they grew in the ground. They're roots."

But, then again, I wasn't so sure that excluded them from being a vegetable.

As much as I wanted to vindicate her stance, what I desired more was the truth. A little research was necessary.

Turns out, spuds have never been included by the Department of Health in the 'five a day' category. They just plain ol' don't make the Food Pyramid at all due to their starchy quality. They usually replace bread, pasta, or rice in a meal, but can't hang with the grains since they don't fit the bill there either.

Despite their homelessness, they are healthy for you. A medium size potato with skin-on provides 27 mg of Vitamin C, 0.2 mg of Vitamin B (vital for your nervous system), and trace amounts of B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), folate, niacin, magnesium, phosphorous, and zinc. It also provides fiber and properties beneficial for the immune system and fighting cellular damage.

But, because they are the root of the potato plant, botanically, potatoes are classified as a vegetable. N. was correct there.

However, nutritionally, potatoes are not vegetables. And since we are simply potato consumers, not growers, roomie and I decided, naturally, we were the winners in this debate.


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