September 1, 2011
Potatoes Can Lower Your Blood Pressure
Toss out last month´s diet berries and health fruit, the latest ℠super-food´ appears to be the much-maligned and shunned common potato.
Researchers are now saying that consuming a portion of spuds twice a day can lower blood pressure by 3 to 4 percent. An added bonus appears that there is no weight gain involved.
Microwaved potatoes, free of butter, oil or ketchup, are best for health, researchers added. Baked or boiled, including mash, are also acceptable.
Researchers say the effects are likely due to the high concentration of antioxidants found naturally in potatoes. Antioxidants protect your body from molecules called “free radicals” that can damage healthy cells, WebMD reports.
People naturally think ℠fattening, high carbs, empty calories.´ In reality, when prepared without frying and served without butter, margarine, or sour cream, one potato has only 110 calories and dozens of healthful phytochemicals and vitamins,” researcher Joe Vinson, PhD, of the University of Scranton, says in a news release.
“We hope our research helps to remake the potato´s popular nutritional image.”
Researchers studied 18 overweight and obese people with high blood pressure and had them eat six to eight small purple potatoes (about the size of a golf ball), with the skins, twice daily, while a control group consumed no potatoes, as a part of their normal diet for four weeks.
The results showed that people who ate purple potatoes lowered their diastolic (the bottom number in a blood pressure reading) blood pressure by an average of 4.3 percent and systolic (the top number) by 3.5 percent.
Common purple potatoes were used for the study but researchers say red and white potatoes may have similar effects.
The results are especially noteworthy with 14 of the 18 people in the study, which were already taking drugs to control hypertension, experienced a further lowering of their blood pressure.
No other changes in body weight or cholesterol were found as a result of adding potatoes to their diet. “The potato, more than perhaps any other vegetable, has an undeserved bad reputation that has led many health-conscious people to ban them from their diet,” Vinson says.
The results of the study were presented this week at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society in Denver.
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