See ya later, taters!

Happy Independence Day. It's time to celebrate summer, family, friends, and this great country of ours.

We need to come together now more than ever.

But if your plans for a 4th of July BBQ involve potato salad, potato chips, tater tots, or any other form of America's favorite spud, you'll want to pay attention to this.

Because according to researchers, eating too many potatoes increases your risk for developing high blood pressure.

Taters are considered a vegetable, but they're made up almost entirely of starch. And that makes them act less like a veggie and more like a bowl of pasta.

So, despite that healthy "vegetable" distinction, don't be fooled by the tuber. It's a wolf in sheep's clothing. As I've previously shared with you, potatoes can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes and expand your waistline -- and now we know that they can also send your BP through the roof.

Researchers from Harvard Med School and Brigham and Women's Hospital used three large U.S. cohort studies to follow 187,000 men and women for more than 20 years.

They found that folks -- especially women -- who consumed four or more servings of potatoes a week over a prolonged period of time had a significantly increased risk for high BP when compared to those who ate less than one serving a month.

French fries were the worst offenders, increasing the risk by 17 percent... but even potatoes cooked in a "healthy" manner (like baked or boiled) increased the risk for high BP by 11 percent.

The researchers suggest that the high glycemic load in potatoes can contribute to high BP not only because of weight gain, but also an increase in oxidative stress and inflammation. And it may be enough to negate the potential health benefits of the potassium content in potatoes.

But according to the study, if you replace just one of your servings of potatoes for the week with a non-starchy vegetable like broccoli, you're more likely to keep your BP in check.

Why stop there? You're better off going Paleo and skipping potatoes altogether.
You can substitute your mashed potatoes with mashed cauliflower, a cruciferous cousin of broccoli that's packed with cancer-fighting sulforaphane and none of the starch found in potatoes. A cup of cauliflower has fewer carbs and about a tenth of the calories of a potato.

If you REALLY need your tater fix, try swapping out your white potatoes for their distant cousin, Paleo-friendly sweet potatoes. The tasty sweet potato is filled with potassium like the white potato... but it also has heart-healthy magnesium... and it's been shown to actually LOWER blood pressure.