Study: Potato Consumption Linked to High Blood Pressure

It's not just fries—potatoes in any form may put you at risk of hypertension.

Whether they’re fried, baked, mashed, or gratiné-d, potatoes may be putting your blood pressure in jeopardy, according to research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

It should come as no surprise that French fries are bad for your health, but the study says it doesn’t stop there. By examining health data from roughly 187,500 participants across three long-term studies, the researchers found that people who consume four or more servings of potatoes each week may have an 11 percent higher risk of developing hypertension than those who rarely or never eat them. That number climbs to 17 percent when the spud of choice is French fries, though, interestingly, potato chips weren’t strongly tied to high blood pressure.

That said, the findings are based on observational studies and self-reported data about high blood pressure diagnoses and potato consumption, so the researchers admit that there may be other factors in play. “There is always a possibility that our findings can be explained by something that we were not able to consider in our analysis,” lead author Lea Borgi noted in a statement.

Nonetheless, the researchers also found that simply swapping one daily serving of potatoes for a non-starchy vegetable lowered an individual’s risk of getting hypertension, so it may be time to revamp your side dish strategy. May we suggest beet noodle salad or a Brussels sprouts slaw?