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Eating Potatoes 4 or More Times a Week Linked to Higher Blood Pressure

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Potatoes are one of those foods that are easy to add to meals. They can be baked, mashed, fried and boiled. You can use them to make potato pancakes, hash browns or potato salad.

In fact, potatoes are so popular that, according to the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association, Americans eat about 110 pounds of potatoes per person every year.

But what are all of these potatoes doing to your blood pressure?

New research from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health finds potatoes may be driving your blood pressure up.

“In our observational study participants who did not have high blood pressure at baseline, and consumed four or more servings a week of potatoes (boiled, baked or mashed) later had a higher risk of developing hypertension compared to those who consumed one or less than one serving a month,” said lead author Lea Borgi, MD,

“Additionally, we found that if a participant replaced one serving of boiled, baked or mashed potato per day with a non-starchy vegetable, it was associated with a lower risk of hypertension.”

The researchers used data from three long-running studies—the Nurses’ Health Study, the Nurses’ Health Study II and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study.

Compared to eating one serving of potatoes a month…

  • Those who ate four or more servings of baked, boiled or mashed potatoes a week experienced an 11 percent risk of high blood pressure.
  • Four or more servings of French fries weekly raised the risk to 17 percent.
  • Oddly, there was no association between potato chips and the risk of high blood pressure.

The researchers note that there are possible limitations of the study, since the participant’s self-reported their health care providers’ diagnosis of high blood pressure.

SOURCE: Higher consumption of potatoes may increase risk of hypertension. Press Release. Brigham and Women’s Hospital via EurekAlert. May 2016.

 

 

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