Potatoes Can Lower Blood Pressure

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Two servings of potatoes each day can reduce blood pressure significantly for obese and overweight people with blood pressure problems. This has also caused a look at the current reputation of potatoes in terms of its healthiness and importance to the diet.

For the past few years, potatoes have been considered bane in health and an undeserved bad reputation, primarily because it is used as a primary ingredient for chips and junk foods. And as we all know, these chips are high in sodium and artificial flavorings. This, however, doesn’t mean that all forms of potatoes can be eaten in an attempt to lower one’s blood pressure. Dr. Vinson, who led the research at University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, underscored that in the study conducted, the potatoes used were cooked in microwave oven without the use of any oil or fat.

According to Vinson, when an average American hears the word potato, what enters his mind is fatty, high carb and low calorie food. This is not true when we speak of potatoes in general. This has become the perception because “French fries” is the most commonly preferred method of cooking and eating this vegetable. In an attempt to remake the universal negative reputation of a potato, the researchers emphasized that when cooked properly and served without butter, oil, cheese or other flavorings, an average sized potato will only contain 110 calories, zero cholesterol and several dozens of vitamins and phytochemicals.

In the study conducted, Vinson’s group made use of a group of healthy participants who ate about 6 to 8 small purple potatoes cooked in microwave oven. Blood and urine tests of the participants were conducted and showed that the antioxidant capacity of their blood and urine were increased with the intake of potatoes.

After such study, they also recruited about eighteen overweight and obese persons with hypertension. For a span of four weeks, these participants ate either 6 to 8 purple potatoes cooked in the same manner, as above or no potatoes at all in their meals. After four weeks, the participants crossed over to the other diet regimen.

In their findings, they observed that eating potatoes result to the following:

-          Not accompanied with changes in body weight, decreased fat or lipid levels, or glucose levels;

-          Resulted in lower blood pressure (systolic lower by 3.5% and diastolic lower by 4.3%).

In effect, the researchers concluded that eating potatoes lessens the risk of heart attack and stroke in patients with hypertension. Vinson’s attributed the effect to the phytochemicals found in potatoes that have similar effects to ACE-Inhibitors, one of the classifications of hypertension drugs in the market today. Phytochemicals, according to them may also be found in broccoli, spinach and sprouts. Furthermore, he mentioned that deep frying these potatoes will destroy the phytochemicals leaving only starch and fats in the potatoes. Microwaving the potatoes is the best way to cook this vegetable.

Article References:

“High antioxidant potatoes: Acute in vivo antioxidant source and hypotensive agent in humans after supplementation to hypertensive subjects”; JA Vinson, CA Demkosky, DA Navarre; Presented 31 Aug 2011, at 242nd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), Denver, Colorado.

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