The Curious Gardener: Veggies may heal what ails youPublished 10:42pm Tuesday, August 28, 2012
“Potatoes are very interesting, folks. I think they must see a lot of what is going on in the earth; they have so many eyes.” — Opal Whitely, American diarist
In the past, people knew what to eat to cure certain health problems. But sadly, with time, a lot of that old wisdom has been lost.
Well, studies and a whole lot of research is being done. And here lies what I could call the tip of the iceberg on what is just the beginning of what is going on out there concerning food, health and gardening.
It seems that purple potatoes will not only add a splash of color to your dinner plate, they just might lower your blood pressure as well. In a study at the University of Scranton, 18 hypertensive participants were asked over the course of one month to consume either six to eight golf ball-sized Purple Majesties (a purple potato) twice daily or no potatoes at all. The facts were that the purple potato-eaters showed significant decreases in blood pressure (4.3 percent in diastolic and 3.5 percent in systolic) with no added weight gain, meaning purple potatoes could be a tasty anti-hypertensive agent and lower the risk of heart disease and stroke as well.
Now, it turns out pigmented potatoes (brightly colored) are high in vitamin C as well as chlorogenic and phenolic acids — antioxidants found in coffee (just who said coffee was bad for us?) proven to lower blood pressure in animals.
According to Dr. Joe Vinson, who led this study, you should bake, boil or microwave them to get the best nutritional benefits from these colorful spuds. But avoid frying them, as high cooking temperatures lower or can deplete the antioxidants and vitamin C in them, plus you cut out all the unneeded fat when not frying them.
Although the Purple Majestry potatoes were used in the study, Vinson added that any red or blue, brightly colored potatoes should give the same benefit.
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