Purple Potatoes May Help Lower Blood Pressure
You may have seen them furrowing some ‘brows at local markets, but if you’re a ‘meat and potatoes’ kind of person, you’ll be delighted to learn that the once-again-popular purple potato stands to confer some significant heart health benefits.
A study out of the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania found that purple potatoes can actually reduce blood pressure by more than 4 percent–almost as much as oatmeal–in just one month, without causing any weight gain. Joe Vinson, Ph.D. of the University of Scranton presented his research at a meeting of the American Chemical Society, in hopes of redeeming the potato’s sad nutritional image—and he may have done just that.
“Mention ‘potato’ and people think fattening, high-carbs, empty calories,” Vinson noted. “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. We hope our research helps to remake the potato’s popular nutritional image,” he said.
His study followed a small study group of 18 people who ate small purple potatoes (each about the size of a golf ball) twice a day for 30 days. On average, diastolic blood pressure dropped by a statistically significant 4.3 percent and systolic blood pressure dropped by 3.5 percent.
Believe it or not, purple potatoes taste remarkably similar to white or gold potatoes. Like white potatoes, purple potatoes are low in calories and high in fiber, B vitamins, vitamin C and contain many of the same antioxidant polyphenols found in other purple fruits and veggies, such brain-protecting anthocyanins.
While purple potatoes can be a little more difficult to locate, more grocery stores, specialty stores and farmers’ markets are offering the polyphenol-packed veggie, so be sure to look for it. We hope to see more studies that demonstrate the benefits of spuds.