The potato, an ally against the risk of hypertension

The nutrients in the potato may help reduce sodium retention and the risk of hypertension, according to a US study.

To have the potato and an iron health, the potato would be a food of choice. According to a new study published in the journal Nutrients, the regular consumption of potatoes would act on the reduction of the systolic blood pressure, when the heart contracts to empty. For this research, the nutritionist team at Purdue University (Indiana, United States) analyzed data from 39 “pre-hypertensive” and hypertensive participants. High blood pressure (hypertension) is defined as an abnormal increase in blood pressure on the wall of the arteries. The normal value of blood pressure is 120/80, recalls the French Federation of Cardiology. Volunteers took turns on a standard Western diet (usually low in potassium), a Western diet supplemented with potassium, and a diet that included baked, boiled, or fried potatoes.

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The key role of potassium

The results suggest that the diet of baked or boiled potatoes had more beneficial effects on sodium retention and systolic blood pressure compared to a Western control diet. In addition, despite their bad reputation, French fries did not have a detrimental effect on hypertension at a serving size of no more than 330 calories. Thus, researchers are emphasizing the key role of potassium in the diet, and in particular on arterial health. “This is one of the first controlled dietary interventions to confirm that potassium is a beneficial blood pressure control nutrient,” they say. However, the study has some limitations: the limited size of the number of participants and the relatively short duration of 16 days.

Hypertension is a chronic disease that progresses silently, most often without symptoms. Nearly one in three adults is affected in France, half of whom do not know it. To reduce the risk, Inserm points out that it is possible to act on certain modifiable risk factors, such as adopting a healthy and balanced diet and reducing salt and alcohol intake.

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