Potatoes have been dieter's bugaboo for quite some time now — enemy to Atkins, provider of "empty calories," nothing but high-carb fat causers. Well, hold the phone — it looks like they may have swung back to being good for you again. New research pegs them as significantly lowering blood pressure — with some massive caveats.
The study looked at obese individuals who were fed 6-8 purple potatoes (each about the size of a golf ball) with skins twice daily for a month. After this diet, the patients' average average diastolic blood pressure dropped by 4.3% and the systolic pressure decreased by 3.5%, as good an improvement as ones we've seen from oatmeal.
Here comes the bad bit: not only is that a huge number of potatoes to eat each day, but were prepared by microwave. No butter, salt, oil, mayonaise, ketchup, vinegar or anything else allowed. And definitely no frying: the researchers claim the high heats kill all the good nutrients, leaving nothing behind but starch, fat and minerals.
This healthy effect of microwaved potatoes is thought to be due to antioxidants in the skin of the purple potatoes which are rich in phytochemicals, and the researchers claim to have identified a specific compound in the spuds which acts in a similar way to ACE inhibitors.
So if you're willing to pledge 1500 of your daily calories to unflavored microwaved potatoes, you could see a major improvement in your blood pressure. Yay?