Potatoes up risk of hypertension

Eating four or more servings of boiled, baked, or mashed potatoes, as well as French fries, a week may increase your risk of high blood pressure, a new study has warned.

Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in the US suggest that replacing one serving a day of potatoes with one serving of a nonstarchy vegetable is associated with a lower risk of developing hypertension. Researchers followed over 187,000 men and women from three large US studies for over 20 years to arrive at the conclusion.

Dietary intake, including the frequency of potato consumption, was assessed using a questionnaire. Hypertension was reported by participants based on diagnosis by a health professional, researchers said. After taking into account several other risk factors for hypertension, researchers found that four or more servings a week of baked, boiled, or mashed potatoes was associated with an increased risk of hypertension.

However, consumption of potato chips (crisps) was associated with no increased risk, researchers said. According to them, potatoes have a high glycaemic index compared with other vegetables, and can thus trigger a sharp rise in blood sugar levels, which could be one explanation for the findings.