Fibre is an important component for a balanced diet, is essential for a healthy digestive system and is found in fruits, vegetables, potatoes and whole grains.
There are two types of fibre – soluble and insoluble. Both types of fibre promote a healthy and regular bowel function, keep you feeling full for longer and improve overall health. Potatoes are our ‘Fibre Hero’ as they contain both soluble (flesh) and insoluble fibre (skin). So, a good rule of thumb, is to always eat potatoes with the skin on to increase fibre content. And don’t forget drinking enough fluids is absolutely essential to allow fibre do its job – so be sure to drink water regularly throughout the day.
Furthermore, it seems currently in Ireland, fibre isn’t always top of our agenda when it comes our food choices. In the 10 year period from 2001 to 2011 Irish adults consumed on average 20% less potatoes and it’s no surprise then that the average daily fibre intake has also reduced. The recommendation from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is to consume 25g /day, but we can see from the IUNA study data (2001&2011) that Irish adults consumption of fibre continues to fall. Intake in 2001 was on average 20.2g/day with the current intake at 19g fibre daily, which means a staggering 80% of the population are not reaching their fibre intake targets.
For all our advances, the irony when it comes to food intake is that our traditional diet was far superior when it comes to fibre intake. 70 years ago, Irish people were consuming four times more potatoes, and more fruits and vegetables all leading to a more fibre rich and ‘healthier’ diet. The knock-on effect from this is that our fibre intake has continued to reduce year on year and it’s not a stretch to suggest this is due to a reduction in consumption of potatoes in favour of other lower fibre and more processed carbohydrates.
So where do we go from here? It’s all about keeping it simple and setting some achievable daily targets for our fibre heroes. Just 2 medium potatoes (with skin) will provide 1/3 of your overall fibre requirement in the day. And don’t forget, be sure your potatoes keep good company by ensuring 1/2 your plate is vegetables (1 carrot and 4 broccoli spears) at dinner time and you will increase your fibre content to 80% of your daily needs in just one meal.
Potatoes can be part of your healthful diet plan, especially when eaten with the skin on. They’re a source of fibre and potassium, and are naturally fat free. Indulge guilt-free with these delicious, simple and modern potato recipes featuring important nutrients for a healthy lifestyle.