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Hold The Fries: French Fries Linked To Higher Risk Of Death - French fry lovers beware! Chowing down on fried potatoes has recently been linked to a higher risk of death, researchers say. According to a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, eating fried tatters at least twice weekly could rob you of years from your life. The study, which looked at 4,400 older adults between the ages 45 and 79, over the course of eight years, discovered that at the end of the trial, 236 of those participants had died. While additional studies are needed, study leaders suggest that the, "frequent consumption of fried potatoes [French fries, fried potatoes and hash browns] appears to be associated with an increased mortality risk." Meanwhile, researchers add that eating unfried potatoes [boiled, baked, or mashed] was not linked to an increased risk of death. In fact, unfried white spuds are considered relatively healthy, due to their good fiber, vitamin, and micronutrients content. The study authors write that this "could have counterbalanced the detrimental effects of their high glycemic index." For instance, a medium plain white potato contains 36 percent of your daily vitamin C, 27 percent of your potassium and 14 content of your fiber. Additionally, a 2014 study found that potatoes don't, in fact cause weight gain. "When prepared in a healthful manner there is no reason to not eat potatoes regularly," study author Britt Burton-Freeman, PhD, director of the Center for Nutrition Research at Illinois Institute of Technology, told Time. Still, they're starchy and rank high on the glycemic index — meaning. they'll raise your blood sugar and insulin levels quickly.

Instead of French fries, opt for pigmented potatoes, such as purple potatoes or even sweet potatoes. A 2012 study states that, "pigmented potatoes contain high concentrations of antioxidants, including phenolic acids, anthocyanins, and carotenoids." In other words, they can help manage blood pressure in obese people without impacting their waistline, regulate blood pressure and may even prevent certain forms of cancer. "Purple sweet potatoes have high contents of anthocyanin, which is a pigment that presents the purple color in the vegetable. The pigment can produce red, blue and purple colors depending on the source's chemical structure, such as in foods like blueberries, red grapes and red cabbage," the findings read. Per the Kansas City University study, "anthocyanins have been epidemiologically associated with a reduced cancer risk, but the anti-cancer ability of the purple sweet potato has not been well investigated." Of course, the secret to a long, healthy life is a balanced diet. The American Heart Association suggest placing an emphasis on a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, skinless poultry and fish, nuts and legumes, non-tropical vegetable oils, as well as limiting saturated fat, trans fat, sodium. As you can imagine, regular physical activity is also high on the list. For overall health, aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity —or an equal combo of both weekly, the AHA says.

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