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Purple Potatoes May Lower Blood Pressure

SCRANTON, Pa., Feb. 1 (UPI) — Two small helpings of purple potatoes a day decreases blood pressure by about 4 percent without causing weight gain, U.S. researchers said.

Joe Vinson of the University of Scranton and colleagues said purple-skinned potatoes, a boutique variety increasingly available in food stores, are noted for having high levels of healthful antioxidant compounds.

Purple potatoes are renowned in Korean folk medicine as a way to lose weight, so Vinson’s team decided to investigate the effects of eating six to eight small microwaved purple potatoes twice a day. The study involved 18 volunteers, most of whom were overweight with high blood pressure.

The volunteers ate potatoes or no potatoes for four weeks, and then switched to the opposite regimen for another four weeks while researchers monitored systolic and diastolic blood pressure, body weight and other health indicators, Vinson said.

The study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, found the average diastolic blood pressure — the bottom number — dropped by 4.3 percent and systolic pressure — the top number — decreased by 3.5 percent. The majority of subjects took anti-hypertensive drugs and still had a reduction in blood pressure.

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