Let’s See, Potato or Pill?

August 8, 2013

Let’s See, Potato or Pill?

One of my favorite daily articles is “Eat This, Not That” by Men’s Health, one of the top publications from the folks at Rodale. Rodale publications are where you go for reliable, helpful information on a wide range of topics related to fitness, health, wellness, really useful household tips, and great food. A recent post on the benefits of purple potatoes, sent me off to the internet to read the original study on these High-Antioxidant Potatoes, by Dr. Joe Vinson, Dept of Exercise, Science and Sport, University of Scranton, PA; and had me scrambling for more information on purple potatoes.  

Did you know that Americans’ per capita consumption of potatoes is higher than any other vegetable? So finding a healthier way to eat your potatoes is a win-win solution. Dr. Joe’s study found that obese people, not only didn’t gain weight eating 2 small servings of purple potatoes every day, they actually lowered their blood pressure by 4%. That may not be a huge statistical difference, not the kind you might expect to see in people taking a drug to lower blood pressure for instance, but the whole point is to find these sensible substitutions in a natural approach to daily eating and nutrition that, when added up, contribute to maintaining wellness.

The study, the first of its kind to investigate the effect of potatoes on blood pressure, went on to conclude “Purple potatoes are an effective hypotensive agent and lower the risk of heart disease and stroke in hypertensive subjects without weight gain.” Let’s see, potato or pill?

Look for purple potatoes at Asian markets and in your farmer’s market. Prepare them just as you would any potato. Always leave the skins on, even for mashed potatoes. Much of the potassium in potatoes is in the skin, so don’t just throw that away. If you are trying to lose weight and have to go out for a rich dinner, or a banquet meal where the healthy choices are “slim to none”,  try eating a baked potato before you go out. Be sure to scrub the skins so you can eat them too. And forgo the butter or toppings this time. A whole baked potato is so filling, you can then go out and eat the salad and pick at the rest of the banquet dinner, but leave most of it on the plate. There! You feel full and satisfied. You have fulfilled your social obligation, but didn’t set yourself back with an unhealty meal that you didn’t want in the first place. Potatoes can be part of a winning nutrition plan.

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