Diet and Nutrition: one hot potato!

By Frank Bolger - Last update

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Enjoying your food is one thing, but knowing it is another thing altogether. The difference is that those who know it enjoy it too. Maybe more than we think if recent research is to be believed.

If you’ve ever thought that nutritionists and culinary experts are a bit self-satisfied, it is only because they know what to eat and when. They know what the body’s requirements are at various times of the day in order for it to run at its optimum level.

And by ‘optimum level’, I don’t just mean being able to leap about the place with the energy levels of a rodeo bull waiting for the the trap to go up: I mean in terms of general health and well-being too.

That’s because food can affect the way we feel as much as it does our activity level, which makes sense when your consider that we’re essentially made of water, fats, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals – the things you’d expect of a healthy meal. And before anyone gets misled into thinking this is an advocation of cannibalism, you can just take it with a pinch of salt, so to speak. Instead, it’s actually an attempt to show that the constituents of food correspond with those of the body. The things we put inside us affect what goes on inside us too.

The Humble Potato

And it turns out that putting a small portion of boiled potatoes (still in their skins) inside, late at night, is actually a good thing.

This is according to Steven Taylor, a culinary arts student at GMIT, who recently carried out a study into how a late-night serving of potatoes can effectively increase your serotonin levels (which affects happiness) while you sleep, meaning that you sleep more soundly and wake up to a better mood and brighter world.

And there we all were starving ourselves before bed, obeying some leaden fallacy about not eating after ten at night. Oh well.

It all goes to show that there is plenty to learn before any of us can say that we understand out diet and the ways it can influence our behaviour, our sleep patterns, our everyday interactions. New research will lead us further in this understanding, as will availing yourself of this research.

Frank Bolger

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