Eating potatoes good for lowering blood pressure, also no weight gain

A new study refutes previous knowledge that potatoes lead to excessive weight gain. The study claims that eating ‘spuds’ daily can help lower your blood pressure; and moreover, there is also no weight gain involved.

In the study, researchers fed 18 volunteers six to eight spuds twice a day. Most of those taking part were overweight or obese and on pills to lower blood pressure. And, the spuds used were purple ones cooked unpeeled in a microwave. But researchers believe that redskin potatoes and white potatoes may have similar effects. The participants ate the spuds twice a day for four weeks, then ate no potatoes for four weeks.

Purple potatoes were chosen for their phytochemical content -- phytochemicals are plant compounds such as beta carotene and folic acid that are thought to be beneficial to health. After a month, the upper of their blood pressure reading, was down by 3.5%. Diastolic or the lower readings decreased by 4.3%. In addition, none of the volunteers put on any weight.

“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 diet. 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 potato's popular nutritional image,” lead researcher Dr Joe Vinson of the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania said. The study was presented recently at the national meeting and exposition of the American Chemical Society in Denver.

The study was funded by U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service State Cooperative Potato Research Program.

The potato came under fire in June 2011 when a study in the New England Journal of Medicine blamed the starchy vegetable for making people gain weight. Researchers found eating an extra serving of potatoes a day caused more weight gain than consuming an additional helping of red or processed meats, or gulping an extra 12-ounce can of a sugar-sweetened drink. That was true for any type of potato, be it fried or baked.

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.

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