How a bedtime jacket potato can help banish the blues
FORGET apples – a potato a night could help keep the blues away and leave people waking up happier, a new Irish study has found.
Steven Taylor, a chef and culinary arts student at GMIT carried out the study into how diet can impact on mood.
He discovered that a serving of potato complete with skins close to bedtime helped to increase the serotonin levels in participants.
"The aim of the study was to explore how what you eat affects how you feel, and whether through diet it is possible to improve a person's temperament," said Mr Taylor.
The chef, who works in product development at the organic Castlemine Farm, discovered that people woke up happier and more alert as a result of their unusual night-time snack.
"The participants were waking up in a good mood. They all felt more motivated, balanced, slept better, were less irritable and had improved energy. They also all agreed that they had a reduced amount of, if not no, cravings, were less hungry and weren't seeking comfort foods."
The Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology student said taking a small portion of boiled potato with skins three hours after the evening meal was sufficient to lead to the changes.
"Most people eat their evening meal between 6pm and 8pm. I'm suggesting they eat a small portion of potato around 10pm or 11pm. We're not talking about a plate of chips here, just a small portion of spuds with the skins on," he added.
He explained how the late plate of complex carbohydrates worked to push a vital amino acid, tryptophan, through the blood brain barrier. This in turn produces serotonin, known as the happiness drug which was then slowly released throughout the night.
Mr Taylor presented his findings at the West of Ireland's first Gastronomy Symposium at GMIT in Galway.