IT is the food most associated with Ireland across the globe- and today the humble potato gets its own day of celebration.
Today is Bord Bia’s National Potato Day, and sales are up for our beloved spuds in lockdown.
There has been a 24 per cent surge since March, as more and more of us learn the nutritional value of a pack of potatoes.
And in a time of stockpiling, we learned how many meals can be made from just onebag.
This year, Bord Bia is showing how the simple spud can be fuel for sports stars, with Mayo’s Sarah Rowe and Dublin’s Sinead Goldrick in agreement.
Here, Dietitian Orla Walsh tells us how a plate of taters can be the healthiest decision you make this mealtime.
She said: “Potatoes are an ideal source of carbohydrate which is the fuel we run on.
“They are incredibly important for sports performance and in contributing to the recovery of muscle function.”
“As they are naturally low fat and high in carbohydrate, potatoes are beneficial for pre-match/training as they can be digested quickly and converted into fuel for the body.”
“The fluids we drink help keep us hydrated, but so does the water within our food.
“As potatoes are pulled straight from the soil they naturally contain a lot of water.
“For example, a boiled new potato is 82 per cent water!”
Muscle & nerve function
“Potatoes are a great source of potassium which plays a central role in muscle and nerve function.
“Getting the right balance is a key focus in sports nutrition.”
“Lots of Irish people eat too much sodium through salt.
“So it’s helpful that potatoes are naturally salt-free.
“When potatoes contain salt it is because we have added it!
“Instead, teaching athletes to use some tasty, nutritious herbs and spices instead of salt is beneficial.”
“Protein contributes to the growth and maintenance of muscle mass as well as keeping our bones healthy.
“About 10 per cent of the calories of potatoes come from protein.”
“You can tailor how to enjoy potatoes in response to your current energy needs.
Depending on the type of potato, 2 medium potatoes provide just 160 to 185 calories.
“The quantity and quality of the fat added to the potato is left up to the athlete.”
“Carbohydrates are the main fuel for our brain function which helps to keep movements coordinated, the mind focussed and speed and accuracy of thoughts sharp.”
“What makes potatoes an ideal carbohydrate source for sport is that they are also incredibly versatile.
“They can be eaten in so many different ways, keeping the athlete interested!”
Potatoes are delicious
“When it comes to adequate fueling, it’s vital that the fuel source is tasty! Potatoes are a delicious eaten in so many different ways!”