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Study: Potatoes Can Increase High Blood Risks

Update Date: May 19, 2016 06:04 AM EDT
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Potato consumption will vary in most cases and also depend on how they are prepared. It has always been believed the potassium could be better preserved when potatoes are baked or boiled but a new study ups the stakes a bit by touching on the amount of potatoes a person consumes in a week.

The study can be found at the British Medical Journal and bared that eating more potatoes could increase the risk of adults developing high blood pressure regardless of how people consume it.

According to the research, people who consume four or more servings of potatoes (regardless if it is baked, boiled or mashed) could gain an 11% increased risk of high blood pressure compared to women who get less than a serving.

The numbers go up a bit when they are served fried (with reference to French fries), jacking up the risk to 17%.

The researchers pointed out that the reason for such is the high glycaemic index (GI) in potatoes. High GI foods have been known to release energy faster and such in return will raise a person’s blood sugar.

High-GI meals had been associated with dysfunction of cells in the body, oxidative stress, and inflammation which are all associated with hypertension/ high blood pressure levels.

Despite that, senior dietician Victoria Taylor of the British Heart Foundation makes it clear that the study only shows an association and not cause and effect.

"Although a higher consumption of potatoes, such as mashed potatoes or French Fries, was associated with high blood pressure, it is still possible that other factors in the diet or lifestyle are also affecting the results, especially as both the blood pressure and food frequency were self-reported,” she explains.

With the study, such raises some questions on the “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension”
(DASH) diet which includes potatoes due to their high potassium and are at the same time low in sodium and fat.

But as mentioned earlier, it all boils down to other factors such as the manner of cooking and consuming them.

"You can make mashed potatoes with olive oil, nonfat milk or soy milk and add mixed herbs and spices," says Samantha Heller, a senior clinical nutritionist at New York University Medical Center. "I do not peel the potatoes and I mix in vegetables, such as sauteed spinach and garlic."

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