Potatoes can Increase Dietary Potassium Intake

Research suggests that eating boiled or baked potatoes can increase dietary potassium intake enough to lower your systolic blood pressure!

Photo from Kukuvaja Feinkost on Unsplash

Few things equate to the sheer joy of 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. While fried potatoes offer very limited – if any – health benefits, new research suggests that eating a healthy amount of boiled or baked potatoes can increase dietary potassium intake enough to lower your systolic blood pressure!

Hardy and Heart-Healthy

Potatoes are high in the mineral potassium, which helps your muscles contract. By improving the function of cardiovascular muscles, including the heart, potassium can effectively balance one’s blood pressure and lower the amount of sodium the body absorbs. While adding copious amounts of grease and salt can wreak havoc on one’s health, boiling or baking potatoes preserves the natural potassium and 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.

Hypertension Across America

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.

Bodily Effects of Blood Pressure

Arteries are squishy tube-like structures that carry blood from your heart and lungs to the rest of your body. When high blood pressure creates tension against the arterial walls, fatty plaque begins to accumulate, causing the arteries to stiffen and close off. This prevents blood from reaching other vital organs and tissues around the body, leading to poor circulation.

With less blood passing through the arteries, pressure continues to build against the arterial walls, compounding the issue. If the pressure becomes too great, the arterial wall may burst, causing 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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About Macee Hall

Originally from the snow-capped Rockies, Macee moved to Texas in 2016 to pursue an undergraduate degree in Strategic Communication. She currently serves as a writer and editor for Empower Brokerage, as well as the marketing manager for Preferred Senior Advisors. Macee is also working on her Master’s degree in management, and hopes to inspire others with her passion for telling stories through varied digital and print marketing efforts.

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