Like a true wild card, this tuber is a wonderful resource in a sportsperson’s diet.
1. An energy reload
Although they contain a lot of water, potatoes are rich in carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. What differentiates these tubers from other vegetables is their starch content, which is a major source of energy for the body. For this reason, these tubers really lend themselves to replacing bread, pasta and other cereals in our diet. Their protein content, on the other hand, is low and they have practically no fats, a characteristic that makes potatoes a suitable ingredient for creating complete and balanced dishes: simply combine them with protein-rich foods and season them with a few fats, preferably vegetable in origin, to obtain a complete meal with all the macro nutrients.
2. Valuable for combating muscle fatigue
As well as being rich in starch, potatoes are also an excellent source of potassium, a mineral that fights fatigue and helps to avoid muscle cramps, especially when playing sport. Other useful elements present in good quantities are calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and sulphur, and the Vitamin B1 and C content is also significant, although the actual amount of the latter is influenced by the type of cooking used, as well as by the time and the way the product is stored (after one month from harvesting, potatoes lose more than 30% of the Vitamin C they contain).If you choose new potatoes, the nutrient profile improves further: compared to normal potatoes, they have fewer calories, but contain more magnesium and provide almost twice as much Vitamin C. Potatoes also absorb selenium from the soil, which is effective against free radicals and important for the proper functioning of the immune system.
3. The sweet potato: perfect for sportspeople
Less well-known than the classic potato but nutritionally very worthwhile, we find the yam, also called sweet potato or American potato. It is a tuberous root with characteristics of particular importance for sportsmen and sportswomen: not only is it an excellent source of carbohydrates, but it also has a lower glycemic index, guaranteeing a prolonged supply of energy without the risk of incurring glycemic peaks. Another point in its favour is the richness of vitamins and minerals: in addition to those already mentioned for the white potato, the sweet potato is very rich in beta-carotene, precursor of Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, important for energy metabolism, and also has a good level of fibre content.
4. The risks of green potatoes
It is necessary, however, to store potatoes properly, keeping them in a dark, cool and fairly ventilated place. The absence of light is necessary to avoid sprouting which, besides impoverishing the potatoes, is associated with the development of a substance, solanine, which is potentially harmful if consumed in abundant quantities. Solanine is concentrated in the greenest parts of the potato; before use, it is therefore advisable to check that there are no green shoots or patches and, if so, to eliminate them by penetrating deep under the skin.