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The humble potato: Tales of a misunderstood vegetable

Anyone who has ever attempted a diet has heard that potatoes are bad for you. Loaded with carbohydrates and empty calories they are really only good for putting on weight is the common belief but the fact is that the humble potato may be a key to weight loss and lower blood pressure.

A story posted to Ivanhoe on September 2, 2011 tells us about new research that says a potato a day could in fact keep the doctor away.

In a research study 18 people who were either overweight or obese with high blood pressure were told to consume 6 to 8 purple potatoes with skin on every day for a month. They were told to choose purple potatoes because the skin of colored vegetables is rich in phytochemicals. The study patients were also told to microwave the potatoes to preserve the nutrients.

The results of the study were a drop in diastolic blood pressure readings of an average of 4.3% and none of the study participants gained any extra weight.

"The potato, more than perhaps any other vegetable, has an undeserved bad reputation that has led many health-conscious people to ban them from their diet," Joe Vinson, Ph.D., who headed the research, was quoted as saying. "Mention 'potato' and people think 'fattening, high-carbs, empty calories'. In reality, when prepared without frying and served without butter, margarine or sour cream, one potato has only 110 calories and dozens of healthful phytochemicals and vitamins. We hope our research helps to remake the potato's popular nutritional image."

Researchers pointed out that the American love affair with French fries and chips will not offer the same results because those types of potatoes are cooked at higher temperatures which actually destroy most of the healthy substances in the vegetable leaving mainly starch, fat and minerals.

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