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A new study shows that people who ate plain purple potatoes cooked in the microwave twice a day for a month lowered their blood pressure by 3%-4% without gaining weight.
Researchers say the blood pressure-lowering effects are likely due to the high concentration of antioxidants found naturally in potatoes. Antioxidants protect your body from molecules called “free radicals” that can damage healthy cells.
But the frying process destroys the healthy substances in potatoes.
“Mention ‘potato’ and people think ‘fattening, high carbs, empty calories.’ In reality, when prepared without frying and served without butter, margarine, or sour cream, one potato has only 110 calories and dozens of healthful phytochemicals and vitamins,” researcher Joe Vinson, PhD, of the University of Scranton, in Pennsylvania, says in a news release. “We hope our research helps to remake the potato’s popular nutritional image.”
Researchers say potatoes contain a variety of potentially beneficial phytochemicals at similar levels as broccoli, spinach, and Brussels sprouts.
Potatoes’ Surprising Effect
In the study, 18 overweight and obese people with high blood pressure either ate six to eight small purple potatoes (about the size of a golf ball) with the skins twice daily or no potatoes, as a part of their normal diet for four weeks.