The staple vegetable having a detrimental impact on your health

You might like them baked, boiled, mashed or fried, but new research published in The BMJ shows you might want to reconsider the amount of potato you are eating.

Researchers have found that if you eat a lot of this global staple there is an increased risk you will develop high blood pressure.

With more than 4,000 varieties grown in around 125 countries across the world, there’s hardly a farmers’ market or a grocery store that doesn’t supply potatoes for your shopping need, and while it’s a hardy vegetable packed with nutritional value too much of a good thing can have a negative impact. In this case, hypertension.

Scientists at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in the United States joined forces to investigate the link between the quantity of potato you are consuming and your blood pressure.

The team looked at potatoes in all forms — baked, boiled, mashed… You get the picture. The information was collected over 20 years and almost 187,500 men and women provided detailed information of their dietary habits.

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What researchers discovered was that if you eat four or more serves of mashed, baked or boiled potato in a given week your risk of developing high blood pressure was increased when compared with those who ate less than one serving a week of the starchy vegetable.

It could be because potatoes have a higher glycemic index (GI) than most other vegetables. This could trigger a spike in your blood sugar immediately after a meal, and as you’d be aware increased sugar in the blood (more commonly known as hyperglycemia) has been tied to oxidative stress, endothelial dysfunction and inflammation that all assist in explaining the increased high blood pressure risk.

While the study was merely observational, researchers believe that if the results can be backed up in future studies it might lead to the exclusion of potatoes as a vegetable from which you obtain health benefits.

Because high blood pressure can also increase your risk of heart disease and stroke, and affects approximately 30 per cent of adults aged 55-64 years, 38 per cent of adults aged 65-74 years and 48 per cent of adults aged older than 75 years, there is a good chance further debate on potatoes and blood pressure will occur.

Do you like potatoes? How many serves a week would you normally eat?