29 June 2021
Potatoes reduce risk of high blood pressure – study
As if anyone needed an excuse to eat more potatoes, a recent study has found that nutrients contained in them could reduce sodium retention and risk of high blood pressure (hypertension).
Increased potassium intake has been linked to improvements in cardiovascular and other health outcomes.
So, researchers investigated the effect of increased ‘dietary’ potassium from a food source – baked/boiled potatoes and baked French fries – or from a potassium supplement on blood pressure and other cardiovascular disease risk factors.
This was compared to a ‘typical American’ control diet, with lower potassium intake, among 30 pre-hypertensive to hypertensive men and women.
The results, published in human-nutrition journal, Nutrients, found that incorporating baked/boiled potato consumption to a typical American diet had the greatest impact on reducing sodium retention – even moreso than the supplement,.
It also resulted in a greater systolic blood-pressure reduction when compared to the control diet.
The study authors also found 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.
Evidence on the effect of increased dietary potassium on blood pressure from clinical trials is extremely limited, and this is one of the first known controlled feeding interventions investigating dietary potassium.
Potatoes comprise about 20% of the vegetable intake in the American diet and help fill several nutrient gaps, including dietary fibre and potassium, according to the study.
Eating just one medium potato meets approximately 10% of an adult’s daily potassium needs.
The study, entitled, Short-term randomized controlled trial of increased dietary potassium from potato or potassium gluconate: effect on blood pressure, microcirculation, and potassium and sodium retention in pre-hypertensive-to-hypertensive adults is available here.