High blood pressure affects one in four adults in the UK, but many people are unaware they even have the condition as there are no symptoms. The best way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to have your readings regularly checked by your GP or local pharmacist. Being vigilant with one’s diet is vital for keeping blood pressure levels low. According to leading health experts, eating this food item will help keep blood pressure low and reduce the risk of serious health complications.
Potassium is a key mineral that the body relies on heavily to function properly.
It helps to lower blood pressure by balancing out the negative effects of salt. The kidneys help to control blood pressure by controlling the amount of fluid stored in the body.
Other food sources with high levels of potassium include tomato juice, bananas, asparagus, spinach, cabbage, eggs, tuna and almonds. Researchers from Harvard Medical School, looked at more than 187,000 men and women in three large studies and compared people who had less than one serving a month of baked, mashed or boiled potatoes, chips, or crisps, and people who had four or more servings a week.
They found that there was an 11 per cent higher risk of high blood pressure if participant had four or more servings a week of baked, boiled or mashed potatoes, and 17 per cent higher risk for French fries, compared to people who had less than one serving a month.
We hope that our study continues the conversation about potatoes and the risk of hypertension and other diseases
Doctor Lea Borgi
The study showed that swapping a portion potatoes for a portion of vegetables could reduce the risk of high blood pressure.
Potatoes were investigated because, while they are a source of potassium which is linked to blood pressure lowering, they are also high in carbohydrates.
The effect of the glycemic load could potentially be associated with effects on the body that could influence the development of raised blood pressure.
The study suggests that eating too much potatoes, whether boiled, baked, mashed or fried – may raise the risk for high blood pressure.
Lead researcher, Doctor Lea Borgi said: “We hope that our study continues the conversation about potatoes and the risk of hypertension and other diseases.
Senior dietician at the British Heart Foundation, Victoria Taylor added: “This type of study can only show an association, not cause and effect. So we can’t conclude that potatoes cause high blood pressure and we cannot explain the cause of the results seen in the study.
‘It is also important to note this is a study form the US where dietary guidance and recommendations vary from the UK. Nearly 30 per cent of adults in the UK have high blood pressure so it is key that we understand the condition and its causes as mochas possible.”
Clinical nutritionist, Samantha Heller argued the study and said: “Potatoes are a good source of vitamin C, potassium, minerals, energy and fibre and the real problem is when people coat it in salt, slathered in butter or loaded with sour cream, cheese, or bacon bits.”
The authors point out that potatoes have a high glycaemic index compared with other vegetables, so can trigger a sharp rise in blood sugar levels, and this could be one explanation for the findings.
Nevertheless, they say their findings “have potentially important public health ramifications, as they do not support a potential benefit from the inclusion of potatoes as vegetables in government food programs but instead support a harmful effect that is consistent with adverse effects of high carbohydrate intakes seen in controlled feeding studies”.
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