Potatoes are the energy boosters our bodies need everyday. Packed full of complex carbohydrates and fibre they not only give us the energy we require but also help look after our health.
A typical serving of baked potato (150g) contains about 4g fibre. Fibre is a particularly important component of our daily diet as it helps maintain a healthy bowel system, ensures that the absorption of nutrients from foods occurs in a gradual fashion, thus preventing energy highs and lows, and helps reduce free radical damage. In addition to this, soluble fibre found in potatoes is able to reduce the amount of cholesterol absorbed from food.
Eating a diet high in fibre can decrease risk of developing digestive disorders, constipation, certain types of cancer and heart disease. As most of the fibre is found in and around the skin aim to keep the skins on or just scrub lightly.
Potatoes also provide essential glycogen particularly for our sporting activities. Glycogen is the stored form of carbohydrate and is essential for the brain, kidney and nervous system as well as being our main source of energy. Stored mainly in the muscle and liver, glycogen is the preferred fuel the body uses when we are exercising.
Depending on how the potato is cooked will influence the speed at which it is absorbed and stored. For instance, for the carbohydrate to give a steady release of glycogen eat potatoes with skins on or potato salad (cold potatoes) as these have more fibre and resistant starches which influence absorption. For a quicker release of energy use mashed or boiled potatoes.
Athlete Ceris Graham finds that potato salad helps her through the day when she is on the water and with challenges like the Rottnest swim (last year I spent many a day preparing mash for my husband as he trained for the solo swim), it’s a good time to add the powerful potato to your dinner plate. As the potato is practically fat free (0.4% per serve) you will also look great in your bathers!