This Common Vegetable Lowers Blood Pressure

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The vegetable lowered the
blood pressure of those already taking medication.
Eating potatoes reduces blood
pressure without causing weight gain, a study has found.
Two servings of spuds per day,
with skins, are almost as effective at lowering blood pressure as eating
Most of the people in the
study were already taking blood pressure medication, but the potatoes had an
additional effect.
However, the potatoes need to
be cooked without oil, and preferably in a microwave oven, to preserve their
Unfortunately, for those who
like French fries, the frying process appears to destroy the healthy substances
in the potatoes.
The potatoes used in the study
were purple skinned, because they contain beneficial phytochemicals.
Red and white skinned potatoes
probably contain these as well.
Joe Vinson, the study’s first author, said:
“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 the potato’s popular nutritional image.”
The study included 18 people
with high blood pressure who were mostly overweight.
Half the participants ate 6-8
small microwaved purple potatoes twice a day for four weeks.
The other half ate no potatoes
four weeks, then each group switched to the other diet.
The results showed that
diastolic blood pressure dropped 4.3 percent when people ate the potatoes.
Systolic blood pressure
dropped 3.5 percent while eating potatoes.
Most were already taking blood
pressure medication, but still saw a further drop.
The study was published in the
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (Vinson et al., 2012).
Kayode Ojo
Kayode Emmanuel Ojo is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at SHEFFA Limited. He is presently studying Computer Science at the National Open University, Victoria Island, Lagos.