Eating too many potatoes could raise blood pressure, says British Medical Journal study
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Eating too many potatoes could raise blood pressure, says British Medical Journal study

A NEW report, published by the British Medical Journal, has suggested that eating too many potatoes could raise blood pressure.

Baked, boiled or mashed, the study reports that eating more than four servings of the Irish staple a week is linked with an 11 per cent increase in blood pressure for women.

While women are more at risk than men, the BMJ concluded that both sexes can be affected by  increased risk of high blood pressure linked to excessive potato consumption.

The researchers, based in the United States, said: “We found independent prospective associations of higher intake of baked, boiled or mashed potatoes and french fries with an increased risk of hypertension.”

Hypertension, meaning high blood pressure, has very little noticeable symptoms but puts you at higher risk of heart attack, heart failure, kidney disease, stroke or dementia.

Heart conditions and strokes are the biggest killers of people in both Britain and Ireland.

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In 2009, Ireland consumed 92.7 kg of potatoes per capita, while Britain consumed 53.7 kg per capita in the same year.

The study also confirmed that chips and french fries are just as unhealthy as we thought, with the report concluding that both men and women who ate more than four servings a week having a 17 per cent higher risk of high blood pressure.

Although there was good news for crisp-lovers as the study found no link between crisps and increased blood pressure.

The Government body, Public Health England, advises in its Eatwell Guide that a healthy balanced diet includes basing meals on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally wholegrain.

Advice by the NHS to prevent high blood pressure remains to eat a low-fat diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables, cut down on salt, caffeine and alcohol intake, quit smoking  and take regular exercise.