As someone who likes to engage in sports and physical activities, I’m no stranger to the ritual of carb-loading. I do it the night before a long run or before training, and it provides me with the energy boost I need to keep me going. Most people would carb-load with bread, rice, or pasta, but what if I told you researchers have found a healthier alternative? POTATOES!
Potatoes offer the “carbs” we need for a healthy, well-balanced diet. They work both as fuel for our brains and our working muscles. Athletes, or anybody who has an active lifestyle for that matter, must consume an adequate amount of carbs in order to maintain endurance. Our energy stores get depleted whenever we do any intense or prolonged exercises after all.
Back in the days when I trained for long-distance runs and volleyball, I always noticed a big dip in my performance whenever I forget to carb-load. I would feel lethargic and slower— kind of like I’m dragging my feet a little bit. On the flipside, having enough energy makes things feel less exhausting and more fun!
Contrary to popular belief that potatoes increase blood pressure, studies by Nutrition Today have found new evidence that there is actually no link between the consumption of potatoes with these health problems. A study from medical journal PLoS One found that in Japan, diets high in veggies, fruit, soy products, seaweed, fish, and potatoes helped significantly reduce their risk of death from a number of diseases. The country has one of the highest life expectancies in the world.
Potatoes have been “misunderstood” for so long but they taste so good and are actually a better source of carbs than most. A skin-on medium US potato that weighs less than 148 grams packs about 26 grams of carbohydrates. The main difference is that potatoes are a nutrient-dense food that contains more vitamins and minerals than spaghetti, brown rice, or whole wheat bread, per serving. A medium potato also contains 620 mg of potassium, which is more than a banana. Indeed, it can help to prevent cramps! You also get fiber, protein, vitamins C and E, calcium, iron, and magnesium, for only 110 calories. In short, potatoes are great for pre- and post-workout meals.
Ever since learning about the nutrition of potatoes, I appreciate how organizations like Potatoes USA-Philippines continue to right these misconceptions about potatoes. I am glad to help them spread the word. Aside from making a variety of quality US potatoes available here in the Philippines, they even helped organize a special 2-hour Zumba program featuring over 30 of the country’s top Zumba instructors. It happened last July 8 at the Skydome in SM North EDSA. In the midst of all the dancing, hundreds of Zumba enthusiasts sampled US potato dishes and learned more on how this superfood can rev up their health and fitness goals with the right diet.
Here’s an awesome recipe for Red Velvet Potato Muffins that makes use of potatoes alongside chocolate. I can think of a handful of people who would be jealous if I made these and brought some to snack on at the gym after my workout. 😉
If you’re not much into sweets, then you can try out this recipe for a Potatoes and Eggs Breakfast Casserole. I previously made this recipe in partnership with Potatoes USA-Philippines, and it can be a great pre- and post-workout snack like the muffins above!
To learn more about potato nutrition and what it can do for your athletic performance, visit www.potatogoodness.com. This website is a treasure trove of information and awesome recipes!
Full disclosure: This post was written in partnership with Potatoes USA-Philippines. Some of the materials used in this post are under their ownership and were used with permission.