American scientists have found that eating boiled or baked potatoes reduce blood pressure and help prevent hypertension. The results of the study are published in the journal Nutrients.
The main source of potassium in the diet of Westerners is potatoes. Researchers at Purdue University studied the effects of potassium supplementation on blood pressure and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
The clinical trials involved 30 men and women with diagnosed hypertension or prehypertension. The results showed that eating baked or boiled potatoes led to a decrease in systolic blood pressure compared to the control group who ate a typical American diet but without the inclusion of potatoes.
The authors also found that, contrary to popular belief about the harm of the most high-calorie version of cooking potatoes, French fries, for the cardiovascular system, a daily serving of this product, containing 330 calories, does not have a negative effect on blood vessels.
The beneficial effect of potatoes is based on the fact that it reduces the retention of sodium in the body, and in this regard, as scientists have found, it works even better than dietary supplements with potassium.
“Although the significant emphasis is often placed on reducing dietary sodium intake to better control blood pressure and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, this is only half the case. Potassium plays an equally important role,” study leader Dr. Connie Weaver said in a press release from the American Potato Research Alliance. “Perhaps the ratio of potassium to sodium is most important in the context of the entire food matrix.”
Potatoes account for about twenty percent of the vegetables consumed by Americans. According to the authors, it is very important, as it helps to make up for the lack of nutrients, dietary fiber, and potassium. Eating just one medium-sized potato satisfies about ten percent of an adult’s daily potassium requirement.
“Given that most Americans are deficient in potassium in their daily diets, these results show the importance of promoting, rather than limiting, good sources of potassium, such as potatoes,” says Weaver.
The researchers note that their findings, based on limited data, are preliminary, as this is the first clinical trial to examine the effect of increased potassium in the diet on blood pressure. According to the authors, more research is needed to establish a link between the useful properties of potatoes and the way they are prepared.
“So far, we have concluded that boiled or baked potatoes help lower systolic blood pressure, and French fries do not have a negative effect and can also be included in the diet as part of a healthy diet,” concludes the study leader.