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Lower Your Blood Pressure With Potatoes

Potatoes have a reputation as being fattening and high in carbs. However, a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Scranton suggests that eating potatoes a couple times a day may reduce blood pressure.

The findings were presented on August 29, 2011, at the 242nd National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in Denver, Colorado.

This month long study included 18 overweight and obese participants with high blood pressure. They were instructed to eat 6-8 purple potatoes—with the skins—twice daily. Each potato was approximately the size of a golf ball.

At the end of the month, the participants showed an average 4.3% drop in diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number in a blood pressure reading) and an average 3.5% drop in systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure reading. None of the participants gained any weight during the study period.

This study was conducted with purple potatoes because their skin contains a high number of important phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are plant nutrients that have been shown to protect against and prevent disease. While red and white potatoes contain fewer phytochemicals due to their lighter coloring, scientists believe that similar benefits could be discovered by further research into those potatoes as well.

The researchers made a point to emphasize that these potatoes were cooked in a microwave, which preserves the nutrients. Frying potatoes or cooking them using other high temperature methods destroys the nutrients which seem to be beneficial to blood pressure.

Additionally, adding condiments greatly increases the fat content and counteracts the health benefits of the potatoes. Eaten alone, with no oil or condiments, a potato contains only 110 calories and numerous beneficial phytochemicals and vitamins.

While this study focused specifically on potatoes, other foods that contain high numbers of phytochemicals include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, and herbs. Keep in mind that the most nutritional benefits come from these foods in a raw form or cooked at a lower temperature.

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