Researchers shed light on the ability of purple potatoes to help lower High Blood Pressure.

Scientists have found that just a couple servings of potatoes a day reduces blood pressure almost as much as oatmeal without causing weight gain.

Although researchers used purple potatoes, they believe that redskin potatoes and white potatoes may have similar effects. In the new study, 18 patients who were primarily overweight or obese with high blood pressure ate 6-8 purple potatoes with skins twice daily for a month. The average diastolic blood pressure dropped by 4.3 percent and the systolic pressure decreased by 3.5 percent. The majority of participants were on anti-hypertensive drugs and still had a reduction in blood pressure. None of the study participants gained weight.

Presenting these findings at the 242nd National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the researchers said that of all vegetables, potatoes have perhaps the most unwarranted reputation as being fattening, high in carbohydrates and empty of calories. Many health-conscious individuals even ban them from their diet.

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, according to Joe Vinson, Ph.D., from the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania who headed the research.

Unfortunately for French fry and potato chip fans, those high cooking temperatures seem to destroy most of the healthy substances in a potato, leaving mainly starch, fat and minerals. Potatoes in the study were simply microwaved, which Vinson said seems to be the best way to preserve nutrients.

In other research, Grissim Clark Connery, MS, RD, recommended that people should get their carbohydrates from starches, like potatoes and yams, due to their low fructose content and positive effect on potential renal acid load. Elevated fructose levels raise uric acid levels, which are associated with increased risks for hypertension, gout, and renal impairment.

Connery explained that uric acid reduces nitric oxide synthesis, an important regulator of blood pressure through endothelial vasodilation. According to a study of hypertensive adolescents, a reduction in uric acid levels normalized blood pressure in 66 percent of participants. In another study, high pressure increased in 74 overweight subjects after they received a high fructose diet for two weeks. The results were reversed after they received uric acid reducing agents. There is also a large body of evidence linking chronic kidney disease (CKD) and elevated uric acid levels.

Vinson said he hopes the new research “helps to remake the potato’s popular nutritional image.”


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