We doubt anyone really needs another reason to eat potatoes, but a new study has provided us all with the perfect excuse to add a side of spuds to our next meal. According to researchers, potatoes can help lower blood pressure levels.
Scientists at Purdue University shared the exciting news after observing a group of 30 individuals who were all at risk of developing high blood pressure (also known as hypertension). Most blood pressure patients are told to reduce their sodium intake to get their numbers back down — but study author Connie Weaver, PhD, said that’s only half the battle. “Potassium plays just as important a role, and perhaps the ratio of potassium to sodium is most important in the context of the entire food matrix,” she explained.
Can you guess what food happens to have a whole bunch of potassium? That’s right: potatoes! A medium spud has about 10 percent of the daily recommended intake. In fact, the researchers found that eating potatoes each day resulted in a greater reduction of sodium retention and lowered blood pressure levels than a potassium supplement alone.
Participants ate potatoes that were boiled, baked, or pan-heated without any extra fat added. It might sound a little strange to go without oil or butter while roasting, but you’d be surprised how tasty they can be with just a little seasoning. You can also try using low-fat and low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth as a tasty oil replacement. Either way, you’ll be helping your body get rid of excess salt by amping up your potassium.
The study had good news for French fry fans, too — as long as you like baking them in the oven rather than deep frying. Study authors claimed, “Despite commonly held misbeliefs about French fries and their role in heart-healthy lifestyles, the authors observed that a 330-calorie serving of baked French fries, when eaten as part of a typical American diet, had no adverse effect on blood pressure or blood vessel function.” Basically, fries didn’t exactly help BP levels, but didn’t make things worse, either.
Weaver and her team acknowledge that the study was small and more research is needed, but it seems like they’re onto a promising (and delicious) solution to managing blood pressure levels!