Adding a pop of purple to your plate can be one more simple way to nudge your blood pressure down. As few as two small helpings a day of purple potatoes may decrease blood pressure by about four percent without packing on any extra pounds, found a study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

When 18 participants (who were mostly overweight, on blood-pressure-lowering meds, and had high blood pressure) ate no potatoes or six-to-eight small microwaved purple potatoes (specifically, Purple Majesty potatoes) twice daily for four weeks, then switched diets for four more weeks, average diastolic (bottom) blood pressure fell by 4.3 percent while systolic (top) blood pressure dropped by 3.5 percent. What’s more, adding the starchy vegetable to the diet, two cups of which contain about 300 calories, did not lead to weight gain in the participants.

Other studies have uncovered substances in potatoes that affect the body similarly to how substances in the blood-pressure-arthritis and heart disease adlowering medications ACE inhibitors affect the body. According to the researchers, people in the U.S. eat potatoes more than any other vegetable. The deep purple-skinned are a boutique variety that have powerfully high levels of antioxidant compounds.

More research is needed to know more. Currently, researchers do not know if standard white potatoes would have a similar blood-pressure-lowering effect or if the effect is unique to purple potatoes.

While this reduction is relatively small, think of the blood-pressure-lowering possibilities when you combine purple potatoes with other foods known to lower blood pressure, such as pomegranates, which are high in antioxidants (according to a Penn State study, low antioxidant levels contribute to increased blood pressure during exercise in those with peripheral arterial disease).

Other foods we’ve recently reported on, which have shown promising blood-pressure-lowering effects include:

Cooking with a sesame-and-rice-bran oil blend has also been shown to lower blood pressure. And adding in additional strategies, which may further contribute to reaching blood-pressure-lowering goals, such as downloading blood-pressure-managing apps, or participating in anger management training can only help nudge your diastolic and systolic down even lower.

Which strategies have You found most effective in lowering blood pressure?