Do potatoes contribute to the risk for high blood pressure? Researchers seem to think they do. According to the New York Times, a large study conducted by the Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital looked at whether or not eating potatoes more than four times a week would increase the risk of hypertension. This study followed over 187,000 men and women over 25 years and found that even after controlling for smoking, body mass index and physical activity, the participants that ate potatoes four times or more per week had a 17 percent increased likelihood of developing hypertension compared to those that ate potatoes only once a month. The risk was the same regardless of whether the potatoes were baked, fried or mashed. Interestingly enough, the consumption of potato crisps were not link with an increased risk of blood pressure in either women or men.
Potatoes have a high glycemic index. Therefore, it is believed that potatoes cause a fast rise in blood glucose levels. This is associated with inflammation and blood vessel problems. These problems may increase the overall risk for high blood pressure. The researchers recommend swapping one serving of potatoes a day with a vegetable that has a low glycemic index, such as sweet corn or peas. Rather than just focusing on one food, researchers suggest additional studies to determine the overall role that diet plays in the regulation of blood pressure.