Isn’t it a great time to be alive? Technological advancements happening left and right. We’re connected to the world more than ever. We can choose whatever size, colour, shape, or variant that we like. Heck, we can even choose the flavor of the survival food that we eat. You can even have dessert to go along with it. We’re so spoiled for choice that we forget how lucky we are. We practically have everything at our grasp. It’s just a matter of choosing.
In our last article, We asked what are your immediate survival food options in the wild? We discussed about eating plants, insects, and worms. We talked about its nutritional benefits and how to determine if the food is edible.
Let me ask another hypothetical question. If you were to eat one survival food for the rest of your life which food would it be? It’s tough to choose just one because you will always consider factors such as nutritional value, availability, perish-ability, or even taste. What do you think?
Drum roll please….
It’s the potato.
One Survival Food – The Potato
Spuds, taters, murphies, tubers, or whatever you want to call them were first cultivated by the Inca Indians of Peru between 8000 BC to 5000 BC.
Ancient Peruvians freeze dried potatoes and called them chuño. They may be credited as the first people to store freeze dried survival food. When the Spanish Conquistadors conquered Peru in 1536, they discovered the potato and carried them to Europe. It was not popular in Europe up until 1700’s. It was erroneously thought that potatoes caused disease such as leprosy, and is related to the poisonous nightshade plant. On the contrary, green potatoes contain a poisonous compound called solanine and should be refrained from eating. The potato is easier to grow than any other staple crops such as wheat or oats which makes it an ideal survival food.
Potato Fun Facts:
– A potato is about 80% water and 20% solid.
– In 1995 the potato became the first vegetable to be grown in space when seeds were germinated on the space shuttle Columbia.
– Potatoes are the world’s fourth food staple – after wheat, corn and rice.
– Potatoes are vegetables but they contain a lot of starch (carbohydrates) that make them more like rice, pasta and bread in terms of nutrition.
– Every year enough potatoes are grown worldwide to cover a four-lane motorway circling the world six times.
– The largest potato grown was 18 pounds and 4 ounces according to the Guinness Book of World Records. It was grown in England in 1795.
Nutritious Survival Food
Humans can apparently survive on a diet of just potatoes, and milk or butter, which contain Vitamin A and D, the only vitamins missing from the potato.
The potato contains all the essential amino acids you need to build proteins, repair cells, and fight diseases. The iron, phosphorous, calcium, magnesium, and zinc in the potato all contribute to the building and maintenance of bone structure and strength. The potato’s fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6 content, coupled with its lack of cholesterol, all support heart health. The potato contains folate, which plays a role in DNA synthesis and repair, thus preventing the formation of cancer cells from mutations in the DNA.
Fiber intake from fruits and vegetables like the potato are associated with a lowered risk of colorectal cancer. Vitamin C and quercetin function as powerful antioxidants that help protect cells against free radical damage. The potato is a great source of vitamin B6, which plays a vital role in energy metabolism by breaking down carbohydrates and proteins into glucose and amino acids. These smaller compounds are more easily utilized for energy within the body. The skin is high in potassium which can help in lowering blood pressure due to its vasodilation effects.
Ultimate Survival Food
In the likely event that we reach Mars, one of the first crops that we will grow will be potatoes. They’re relatively easy to grow, rich in vitamins and minerals, and can sustain life for long periods of time. If I were to choose one survival food to eat the rest of my life, it’ll be the potato. Hands down, it’s the ultimate survival food. Hey, if it’s good for astronauts, then it’s good for us.