Study Finds Potatoes Could Help Control Blood Pressure

A study by researchers at Purdue University funded by the Alliance for Potato Research and Education, has found that eating more potatoes could help control blood pressure. The key to this was the potassium contained in potatoes.

How the study was conducted

The researchers found 30 pre-hypertensive to hypertensive men and women for the study. The 30 were then split into four groups. One group, a control group, was given 2300mg of potassium which is the amount most Americans consume in a day. 

Other groups were given the same diet, but the researchers added 1000mg of Potassium from either baked, pan heated or boiled potatoes for one group. Another group was given 1000mg of potassium from baked French fries, while the last group was given an added 1000mg of K-gluconate supplement.

After 16 days of a regulated diet, the researchers concluded that the potatoes worked better than potassium supplements in controlling blood pressure. They found that increased dietary potassium lowered sodium retention and also reduced systolic blood pressure.

According to the study, French fries, when baked, also aren’t bad for the heart. A 330-calorie serving of baked French fries given with a regular diet did not affect blood pressure.

Connie Weaver, PHD,  says that more emphasis is usually placed on lowering dietary sodium intake in patients with hypertension. However, increasing potassium intake could also play a role in controlling blood pressure. More attention should be placed on maintaining the sodium to potassium ratio as it would lower sodium retention. However, there has been little research on the effect of potassium on blood pressure.

Americans fall short in dietary potassium intake

Although potatoes make up about 30% of American’s vegetable intake, they still fall short on Potassium intake. One medium-sized potato can cater to about 10% of a person’s daily need for potassium. However, studies show that potatoes make up about 7% of the dietary potassium intake while french fries make up 3%.

For most Americans, potatoes are to be avoided when eating healthy, while French fries are considered junk food. However, this research shows that potatoes might be better for us than we initially thought.

This study is one of the few that has considered potassium in potatoes to control blood pressure. 

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