In my view, potatoes are among the very best of all “comfort foods” we enjoy adding to the menu every fall.
We toss them into soups. We bake them with cheeses, cream, and garlic to make Potatoes Dauphinoise au Gratin. And we serve them fresh out of the oven with a dollop of sour cream and some fresh chives and parsley.
Of course, some believe potatoes should NOT be included as part of a healthy, balanced diet. This likely stems from an old superstition—as potatoes are part of the “deadly nightshade” family.
But potatoes are surprisingly nutritious (as I’ll explain in just a moment)…and are safe to consume (in moderation). Plus—science shows they may even help trigger relaxation in the body. (No wonder they’re such a “comfort”!)
Let’s dive right in…
Potatoes are packed with nutrients
Potatoes are indeed a starch, which is why some people feel they must keep them off the menu.
But they’re far more nutritious than other starchy, high-carb foods—which is why they get the green light from me, in moderation, as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
For one, potatoes (with the skin on) have lots of the right kind of fiber, which helps slow the break-down of starch. In addition, the fiber in potatoes promotes gastrointestinal (GI) health and improves digestion—helping you absorb nutrients more efficiently.
Potatoes also rank very high on the satiety index (meaning you feel full and satisfied after eating them). And with only 150 calories for a medium potato, you can’t go wrong!
Plus, unlike refined carbs and ultra-processed white bread or sugary foods, whole potatoes don’t make your blood sugar spike. Therefore, eating them in moderation can help you manage blood sugar and lower your risk of Type II diabetes.
Potatoes are also excellent sources of vitamins C and B6. In fact, just one potato contains 45 percent of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for C—that’s as much as an orange! And a potato has 10 percent of the RDA for vitamin B6.
In addition, potatoes have more potassium than bananas. And that point brings me back to a new, exciting study…
Adding potatoes to the menu can help lower blood pressure
We’ve known for a long time that increased potassium intake can help support cardiovascular health. More specifically, we know it can help prevent or manage hypertension (high blood pressure).
So, for the new study, researchers at Purdue University wanted to see if eating potatoes, which contain lots of potassium, could help in the same way…
They recruited 30 men and women with hypertension or “pre-hypertension.” Participants’ average age was 48 years. Then, researchers randomly placed the participants into one of four dietary groups:
- Group one followed a control diet that included 2,300 mg of potassium per day. (This amount of potassium reflects what’s found in a “typical” American diet, which experts consider to be “low” in potassium.)
- The second group followed the control diet with an additional 1,000 mg of daily potassium from baked, boiled, or pan-heated potatoes.
- The third group followed the control diet with an additional 1,000 mg of daily potassium from a 330-calorie serving of baked French fries.
- The fourth group followed the control diet with an additional 1,000 mg of daily potassium from a standard potassium supplement.
It turns out, the group that ate baked, boiled, or pan-heated potatoes experienced significant reductions to their systolic blood pressure readings after just 16 days! In fact, their improvements to systolic readings (−6.0 mmHg) were more than twice as significant as the control group with low potassium intake (−2.6 mmHg).
Plus, the baked, boiled, or pan-heated potato group also experienced less sodium (salt) retention than the potassium supplement group.
(I should also note that eating French fries wasn’t a killer. In fact, eating them along with the typical American diet had no adverse effect on blood pressure or blood vessel function!)
Clearly, as this study shows, getting more dietary potassium (and other minerals like magnesium) can positively influence blood pressure and sodium levels…without resorting to toxic drugs!
In fact, as I mentioned last week, on July 4, 2019, I declared my own independence from blood pressure drugs and decided to stick exclusively with my dietary supplement regimen for blood pressure and heart health. (And yes, that includes enjoying well-prepared potatoes, in moderation, as part of my healthy, balanced diet!)
For the full back story about why I no longer recommend blood pressure medications, be sure to check out the current October 2019 issue of Insiders’ Cures (“Here’s why I no longer recommend any blood pressure medication”). If you’re not yet a subscriber, click here now! (You won’t want to miss this important report.)
I also urge you to take steps to protect your cardiovascular health before you experience a serious condition like hypertension. Indeed, there are many natural approaches to preventing and fighting heart disease. You can learn all about them in my Heart Attack Prevention and Repair Protocol. For more information, or to enroll today, click here now.
P.S. As you know, potatoes belong to the nightshade family of plants, which some health gurus blame for all sorts of health problems. Tomorrow, I’ll discuss the historical basis for this concern about nightshades. Then, I’ll give you some tips for figuring out whether or not you really should cut them out of your balanced diet. So, be sure to tune back in!
“Short-Term RCT of Increased Dietary Potassium from Potato or Potassium Gluconate: Effect on Blood Pressure, Microcirculation, and Potassium and Sodium Retention in Pre-Hypertensive-to-Hypertensive Adults.” Nutrients 13(5): 1610. doi.org/10.3390/nu13051610