There’s nothing quite like biting into a perfectly crunch-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside french fry. Fries, however, are usually at the top of the list of foods to avoid and are considered a treat food. While fried potatoes offer few-to-no health benefits, new research suggests that eating a healthy amount of boiled or baked potatoes may lower systolic blood pressure!
Potassium and Potatoes
Potatoes are high in potassium, a mineral that helps muscles contract. By improving the function of cardiovascular muscles, including the heart, and negating the effects of sodium in the body, potassium can effectively balance one’s blood pressure. While adding grease and added salt can wreak havoc on one’s health, enjoying boiled or baked potatoes, where the natural potassium is preserved, can benefit one’s body in a variety of ways!
“While significant emphasis is often placed on reducing dietary sodium intakes to better control for blood pressure and cardiovascular disease risk, that’s only half of the story. Potassium plays just as an important role, and perhaps the ratio of potassium to sodium is most important in the context of the entire food matrix, as the potato meal resulted in a greater reduction of sodium retention than the potassium supplement alone,” explained the study’s primary investigator Connie Weaver, PhD.
A Nationwide Affliction
As of 2018, over 100 million Americans suffered from high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. Blood pressure refers to the pressure of blood pushing against your arterial walls at any given time. Higher blood pressure over a sustained period of time can lead to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke, as well as other heart and overall health problems.
Hypertension in the Body
Arteries are the little flexible tubes that carry blood from your heart and lungs to the rest of your body. When high blood pressure creates tension within the arterial walls, fatty plaque beings to accumulate, causing to arteries to stiffen and become narrower. This prevents as much blood from reaching other vital organs and tissues around the body.
With less blood passing through, pressure continues to build within the artery, compounding the issue. If the pressure becomes too great, the arterial wall may burst, which is known as an aneurysm. Aneurysms cause internal bleeding, and can be life-threatening, depending on where they occur and how long it takes to receive medical attention.
Hypertension can also contribute to coronary artery disease (CAD), where plaque builds up and completely blocks off an artery. If an artery becomes closed off, the heart may start beating out of rhythm, known as an arrhythmia. This total blockage could lead to a heart attack, in which a portion of the heart is cut off from the body’s blood supply, effectively starving it of important nutrients and oxygen. For more information, check out our article on heart attacks and cardiac arrest.
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We hope this information on how potatoes may lower systolic blood pressure is helpful.
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