Purple potatoes are a type of potato popular in South America, which originate from Peru and Bolivia. These potatoes have a bright, vibrant color that adds a beautiful touch to dishes. Because they are packed with antioxidants, purple potatoes may also have health benefits.
New research from Penn State University found that purple potatoes may fight colon cancer, by killing colon cancer stem cells and limit the spread of the cancer.
The researchers applied baked purple potatoes to colon cancer tumors in petri dishes, and they suppressed the growth of the tumors. The same results were found in animal studies with mice.
According to Jairam K.P. Vanamala, associate professor of food sciences, Penn State and faculty member, at the Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute, attacking cancer stem cells is an effective way to treat cancer.
“You might want to compare cancer stem cells to roots of the weeds,” Vanamala said. “You may cut the weed, but as long as the roots are still there, the weeds will keep growing back and, likewise, if the cancer stem cells are still present, the cancer can still grow and spread.”
According to the researchers, there are a few compounds in purple potatoes that may possess anti-cancer properties, including anthocyanins and chlorogenic acid, and resistant starch.
“Our earlier work and other research studies suggest that potatoes, including purple potatoes, contain resistant starch, which serves as a food for the gut bacteria, that the bacteria can covert to beneficial short-chain fatty acids such as butyric acid,” Vanamala said. “The butyric acid regulates immune function in the gut, suppresses chronic inflammation and may also help to cause cancer cells to self-destruct.”
In addition to resistant starch, the compound that makes these potatoes purple may also help suppress colon cancer growth.
“When you eat from the rainbow, instead of one compound, you have thousands of compounds, working on different pathways to suppress the growth of cancer stem cells,” said Vanamala. “Because cancer is such a complex disease, a silver bullet approach is just not possible for most cancers.”
The study showing that purple potatoes may fight colon cancer was published in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.
Note: None of the information in our website is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. The content on our website is for educational purposes only.
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1. “Colorful Potatoes May Pack Powerful Cancer Prevention Punch.” EurekAlert! EurekAlert!, 26 Aug. 2015. Web. 31 Aug. 2015.
2. “Anthocyanin-containing Purple-fleshed Potatoes Suppress Colon Tumorigenesis via Elimination of Colon Cancer Stem Cells.” The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 14 Aug. 2015. Web. 31 Aug. 2015.