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Drop that French fry and munch on a purple potato. Research shows that properly prepared (no deep frying!) potatoes, especially the purple variety, can lower blood pressure as much as oatmeal does.
“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 diets,” says Joe Vinson, Ph.D., of the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, who headed the study. “Mention ‘potato’ and people 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. We hope our research helps to remake the potato’s popular nutritional image.”
In the new study, 18 people who were primarily overweight or obese with high blood pressure ate about seven purple potatoes (each about the size of a golf ball) with skins twice daily for a month. They ate purple potatoes because they are rich in beneficial phytochemicals. Their average diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) dropped by 4.3 percent and systolic pressure decreased by 3.5 percent, says Vinson.
The potatoes in the study were microwaved without butter or oil. None of the study participants gained weight. The study was reported at the 242nd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in Denver last year.