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THE humble spud looks innocent four or more servings of French Hospital and Harvard Medical notes: "Potatoes make an Are you eating your way to high blood pressure?

THE humble spud looks innocent enough, but recent research has found they could be contributing to the nation's high blood pressure.

Eating four or more servings of mash, baked or boiled potatoes each week has been linked to an 11% increased risk of high blood pressure in women, according to the study published in the British Medical Journal.

And, perhaps less surprisingly, it's even worse news for chip fans: four or more servings of French fries per week has been associated with a 17% greater risk of the condition, which is known to be a leading cause of stroke.

It's thought the high glycaemic index (GI) of potatoes could be playing a part, due to the fact that when you eat high GI foods, energy is released fast, and blood sugar soars more quickly as a result.

The team behind the study, from the Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, said high-GI meals had been associated with dysfunction of cells in the body, oxidative stress and inflammation, "all potentially important mechanisms in the development of hypertension" - the medical term for high blood pressure.

However, potatoes aren't all bad - as Tom Sanders, emeritus professor of nutrition and dietetics at King's College London, notes: "Potatoes make an important contribution to the intake of vitamin C and potassium.

"The vitamin C and potassium content is best retained when the potatoes are baked or boiled with skins on."

This doesn't change the fact that we already know one of the biggest risk factors for high blood pressure is salt consumption - whether it's 'hidden' in processed foods, or added to meals.

Often dubbed a 'silent killer' - because it doesn't usually cause symptoms, but can lead to major complications if untreated, including heart disease - one in three UK adults has high blood pressure.

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One in three UK adults has high blood pressure

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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:May 31, 2016
Words:313
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