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Nutrition

February: American Heart Month

 

Are Potatoes a Smart Choice for Heart Health? Yes!

Learn How the Vegetable Dearest to Our Hearts is Also Good for our Hearts

February is American Heart Month, so it’s a good time to think about how our favorite foods can keep our hearts happy and healthy.

To that end, if you love potatoes, good news! According to the American Heart Association (AHA), America’s favorite vegetable — potatoes — can be part of a heart-healthy diet.

Here’s why. Potatoes are naturally fat-free, cholesterol-free and sodium-free, meeting the AHA’s recommendations to eat foods limited in fats and sodium. Potatoes also contribute 15% of your daily value (DV) of potassium and 30% DV of vitamin C. And they contain 3 grams of plant-based protein and 2 grams (7% DV) of dietary fiber.

“Being heart-healthy doesn’t necessarily mean having to give up our favorite things,” said RJ Harvey, director of culinary at Potatoes USA and a registered dietitian. “Potatoes are delicious, affordable and a crowd-favorite. They’re the perfect vehicle for people to take care of their hearts while also delivering flavor.”

This American Heart Month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is spotlighting high blood pressure as a leading risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Here again we’ve got good news for potato fans. Research suggests that diets rich in potassium and low in sodium reduce the risk of hypertension and stroke.

For example, a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that adding 1,600 mg of potassium a day can lower stroke risk by 21%. A single serving of potatoes has 620 g of potassium, which is more than a medium-sized banana! In fact, skin-on potatoes rank highest for potassium content among the top 20 top-selling fruits and vegetables.

Research also suggests potassium can counteract some of the poor health effects of sodium on blood pressure. Reducing sodium along with increasing potassium provides greater heart disease protection than intervention alone.

For the potato salad lovers out there, try this low-sodium, low-fat, low-cholesterol version – Garden Potato Salad.

The secret to the dressing is the cottage cheese. As a bonus, the prep time is just 15 minutes!

Learn more about potato nutrition.

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