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Purple potatoes lower BP without piling on pounds

19 June, 2012

PENNSYLVANIA: 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.

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

"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," Vinson stated.

In the new study, 18 patients who were primarily overweight/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, said Vinson.

The majority of subjects took anti-hypertensive drugs and still had a reduction in blood pressure. None of the study participants gained weight.

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.

End.

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