Potatoes have had a bad rep in recent years as they’ve been dragged into this whole ‘carbs are bad’ fad! But I’m here to fight their corner especially as now is the season to eat carbs!
As the dark nights draw in and the temperature drops our bodies are craving different foods than a few months ago. Salads should have packed their bags a long time ago. I’m a strong believer that certain foods should be reserved for certain times of the year… “eat what’s in season” as my mother used to say.
As hunter gathers we evolved to look for more calorie-dense foods prior to the cold weather to add on a few pounds of insulation. That innate desire still exists in our psyche, only now it is fighting the unnatural climate created by our central heating systems and reluctance to go out in the cold. Spend a day outside in the crisp autumn air and let your subconscious guide you to the food you most want. I guarantee it isn’t some fresh lettuce and celery! Give your body what it wants, give it carbs, give it potatoes!
Potatoes are a superfood. Fact. Why don’t we see them as that? Because our view has been clouded by the media searching for new, quirky, better looking, more colourful foods. But read on…
- Potatoes are actually vegetables but due to their high starch content they are known as carbohydrates (like pasta, rice and bread).
- Potatoes are fat free!
- They are a great source of energy. If I’m planning an intense cardio workout potatoes are my preferred pre-workout fuel (a good few hours before exercising of course)
- They are packed with fibre, approximately 2.7g per 100g (jacket potato), that’s about five times more than you’d find in a banana! This helps to lower the levels of cholesterol in the blood and thus reduce the risk of heart disease.
- They are high in vitamin C. Potatoes contain 45% of the daily recommendation of vitamin C, that’s more than is found in three avocados!
- Vitamin B6. This is a required for cell repair and is key in protein synthesis and you don’t need me to remind you how a higher muscle mass can help improve your health.
- They contain more potassium than bananas, broccoli or spinach. This helps maintain normal blood pressure, muscle contractions and nerve impulses.
- They contain other vitamins and minerals including; copper, manganese, phosphorous, niacin and pantothenic acid.
- They are one of the most versatile foods on the market; boil, fry, bake, add to a curry, make mash, the options are endless.
- They are cheap as chips! (excuse the pun)
The big problem with potatoes is how we eat them. Most people turn to the high-fat representations such as fries and crisps, thus resulting in all the negative effects on our health that we’re trying to avoid.
Eat them as a jacket potato; consuming all the benefits in the skin as well as the warm fluffy centre.
Prep your jacket spuds and ingredients then head out on a long wintery walk…
Smear on olive oil and a pinch of sea salt, bake in the oven (160°C for approximately 90 minutes) and use lemon juice instead of butter once opened. Top with some slow-cooked chilli and tell me it isn’t the perfect antidote to a yomp in the wind and rain.