Are you worried about high blood pressure? Researchers studying the effects of potatoes on human health have noted that potato consumption is linked to a reduction in blood pressure among obese people with high blood pressure.
Lowering Blood Pressure Naturally
Just a few servings of potato each day can reduce blood pressure in overweight people who have high blood pressure, states researchers in a new report. The potato study was conducted using purple potatoes without any fat or oil. Two groups of participants were chosen for the study, a healthy group and an overweight group who suffered from high blood pressure.
The healthy participants ate 6 small purple potatoes a day or the equivalent of starch in the form of biscuits. At the end of the trial, it was found the antioxidant capacity of their blood and urine was increased by eating potatoes and decreased by eating biscuits. The overweight group ate 6 purple potatoes each day for 4 weeks followed by a 4-week period of no potatoes, followed by another 4-week period of eating potatoes. The results demonstrated that although eating the potatoes caused no change in body weight, blood fats or sugar levels, blood pressure did decrease.
One of the primary reasons for potatoes lowering blood pressure has to do with high levels of potassium found in the food. Potassium has several functions in the body, aiding with the proper workings of the heart, kidneys, nerves, muscles and the digestive system. A lack of potassium can manifest itself in many ways, including high blood pressure.
At the end of the study, researchers claimed that the consumption of purple potatoes was, in fact, effective for lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke in people who have high blood pressure. It is thought that red-skinned potatoes would have the same impact.
The Blacklisted Potato
Unfortunately, many Americans have blacklisted potatoes from their diet completely. The potato is often seen as an empty calorie, high carbohydrate, fattening food that has no nutritional value. This is actually a long way from the truth. But when a potato is topped with mounds of butter, sour cream, fried in oil or otherwise changed from its original state, this is where problems begin. In actuality, a potato only has slightly over 100 calories and numerous beneficial vitamins and phytochemicals such as those found in spinach, Brussels sprouts and broccoli.
A Little Potato History
Potato roots began in the Andes Mountains of South America where inconsistent temperatures and extremely poor soil were the norm. The potato, however, survived and even thrived in these conditions, some 15,000 feet up in the air. Pre-Columbian farmers, impressed by the heartiness of this vegetable began cultivating the potato almost 7,000 years ago. It was not until around 1537 that people in the west encountered the potato. Of course, everyone is aware of the potato’s use in Ireland. Because potatoes contain most vitamins that are needed for survival, it was a popular food. This explains the great famine in Ireland that followed the crop failure of the 1800’s.