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 no-no diet list and are considered a treat food. While fried potatoes offer few health benefits, new research suggests that eating a healthy amount of boiled or baked potatoes can actually reduce systolic blood pressure by increasing one’s intake of dietary potassium!
Potatoes are high in potassium, a mineral that helps muscles contract. By improving the function of cardiovascular muscles, including the heart, and negating the effects of sodium in the body, potassium can effectively balance one’s blood pressure. While grease and added salt can wreak havoc on one’s health, boiled or baked potatoes preserve 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.
A Nationwide Impact
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.
The Effects of Hypertension
Arteries are the little flexible tubes that carry blood from your heart and lungs to the rest of your body. When high blood pressure creates tension within the arterial walls, fatty plaque begins to accumulate, causing the arteries to stiffen and become narrower. This prevents as much blood from reaching other vital organs and tissues around the body.
With less blood passing through, pressure continues to build within the artery, compounding the issue. If the pressure becomes too great, the arterial wall may burst, which is known as an aneurysm. Aneurysms can be life-threatening, as they cause internal bleeding.
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.
We hope this information on how potatoes could help reduce systolic blood pressure is helpful to you.
Empower Brokerage is dedicated to helping you educate your clients on the insurance they need and staying on top of their health. Whether it’s through webinar training, one-on-one calls, seminars, or marketing plans. We want you to be successful. Give us a call if you have any questions 888-539-1633.
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.