Recently, it was reported that a Harvard research study found potatoes were bad for us. But in actuality, potatoes may actually be good for the heart.  Well, fried potatoes, french fries and potato chips may be bad for us in terms of overall fat and calories; but, potatoes cooked without fat may actually be good for the heart!  A new study suggests that a couple of servings of potatoes per day can lower blood pressure as much as oatmeal without causing weight gain. In a study at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, patients who ate a serving of  purple potatoes twice daily for a month had average reduced blood pressures (both top and bottom) of 3.5 and 4.3 percent. In addition, no weight gain was seen. In the study funded by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, most patients were either overweight or obese, and many were already taking medications for high blood pressure during the study. In the study the potatoes were cooked by microwave, with no additional fat or calories added. It was suggested by the study that potatoes are a healthy food when they're not in the form of French fries or chips, or covered with high-fat, high calorie toppings. Potatoes supply a wide range of vital nutrients to the diet and are a particularly good source of complex carbohydrates, potassium, vitamin C, folic acid and iron. The skins contains B6, copper, manganese, and dietary fiber. Potatoes and potato skins contain 18% of the recommended daily allowance of iron and 7.5 grams of protein, which is rarely found in vegetables in such high concentrations. The purple potatoes’ pigment is from the antioxidant anthocyanin, which is responsible for the purple and blue colors of fruits and vegetables. This flavonoid has been shown in studies to possess anti-cancer and heart-protective effects, as well as benefits such as boosting the immune system and protecting against age-related memory loss. Although purple potatoes in particular, have high amounts of antioxidants, it is thought that red-skinned or white potatoes may have similar effects on blood pressure. More studies will be done. In the meantime, enjoy an occasional low calorie potato. Yours in good health, Linda Hlivka Clinical Nutritionist