Purple Potatoes Lower Blood Pressure

November 12, 2012

Purple Potatoes Lower Blood Pressure

The results of a new study were presented at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society in Denver recently. And it’s good news for those who like their potatoes. The researchers found that people who ate plain purple potatoes two times every day caused their blood pressure to decrease by around 3% to 4% without showing any weight gain. The cooking method was in a microwave and no additions such as butter, cream or oils were allowed. The potatoes were roughly golf ball sized.

The blood pressure lowering attributes of potatoes are probably caused by the antioxidants which are abundant in potatoes say the researchers. Antioxidants are known to be beneficial when dealing with ‘free radicals’ which are known to attack healthy cells at a molecular level. However the goodness in potatoes disappears when potatoes are fried or roasted.

The researchers are standing up for potatoes and saying that they are suffering from a ‘bad press’. They say that potatoes when cooked and prepared correctly are not fattening and that an average potato without any fattening substance added is only about 110 calories and has many vitamins and phytochemicals. The potentially valuable properties of phytochemicals are in potatoes in the same amounts as in broccoli, spinach or Brussels sprouts. They also say that the potato has been banned from many health conscious individuals’ diets and yet it has all of these good properties. The researchers do accept that the danger is from fillings or methods of cooking when discussing potatoes, so no fatty fillings or French fries.

Unexpected Results

The study was small scale and only consisted of eighteen obese and overweight people, all with high blood pressure. Half of the people did not eat potatoes but the other half ate six to eight small purple potatoes with the skins on two times every day. This was considered part of their normal diet for 4 weeks.

The participants who ate the potatoes lowered both the diastolic and systolic blood pressure readings by 4.3% and 3.5% respectively. The effect is very similar to eating oatmeal note the researchers. The researchers also believe that the same effects may be found in white and red potatoes but further research is required to prove that point.

The researchers feel that an important finding was the drop in blood pressure amongst the participants because 14 of the 18 people were already on blood pressure lowering medication and the potatoes caused a further decrease. The potato ‘diet’ had no effect on weight gain or loss and did not affect cholesterol levels.

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