Nutrition: Study finds potatoes help reduce blood pressure

At my local farmers’ market, one of the areas that has expanded in the past few years is the array


At my local farmers’ market, one of the areas that has expanded in the past few years is the array of potatoes. Where once there sat cartons of white, red-skinned or Yukon, now there’s an amazing display that also includes white- and yellow-fleshed fingerling varieties and blue- and purple-fleshed round potatoes.

On Saturday, I picked up containers of red-skinned, white fingerlings and baby purples to create a colourful potato salad. Turns out , I’m also helping maintain a healthy blood pressure and getting an array of beneficial phytochemicals’and as long as I’m not piling on the full-fat mayo or throwing these spuds into the deep-fryer, I needn’t worry about my weight.

According to a release from the American Chemical Society, scientists at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania monitored 18 overweight or obese people with high blood pressure who ate six to eight golf-ball sized purple potatoes twice a day for a month. The participant’s diastolic blood pressure (the higher number in a typical blood pressure reading) dropped by 4.3 percent, and the systolic pressure, the lower number, decreased by 3.5 percent.

The researchers predict that white potatoes and red-skinned ones should show similar results, but used purple potatoes for the additional nutrients. None of the patients gained weight. (One small baked potato with skin has 128 calories and loads of healthful nutrients, including potassium, manganese and vitamins B6 and C.)

For more ways to get more potatoes into your diet, try our Grilled Lamb with Warm Mint-Yogurt Potato Salad, PEI Potato and Spinach Stew and Potato Cakes with Baked Tomatoes (only microwave the potatoes rather than boiling).

What’s your favourite way to cook potatoes of any shape or colour?

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