When it comes to health, massage therapists know the importance of practicing self-care. New research indicates potatoes could fit into a self-care regimen.

The research indicates consuming a small amount of purple potatoes each day can lower blood pressure in people with obesity and hypertension, without increasing weight—and that this practice could in turn reduce the risk of several forms of heart disease.

This is the first study to check the effects of eating potatoes on blood pressure in humans, according to a press release. Investigators concluded that two small helpings of purple potatoes (Purple Majesty) a day decreases blood pressure by about 4 percent without causing weight gain.

Purple-skinned potatoes, a variety increasingly available in food stores, are noted for having high levels of healthful antioxidant compounds.

Eighteen volunteers, most of whom were overweight with high blood pressure, ate potatoes or no potatoes for four weeks, and then switched to the opposite regimen for another four weeks while researchers monitored systolic and diastolic blood pressure, body weight and other health indicators, according to the press release.

Average diastolic blood pressure dropped by 4.3 percent and systolic pressure decreased by 3.5 percent when potatoes were consumed.

The study was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Seated Massage Reduces Blood Pressure and Stress Levels in African-American Women

• High Blood Pressure Reduced by Massage Therapy

The Shuffle Toward Obesity Continues