Credit: © Norbert / Fotolia

Credit: © Norbert / Fotolia

Purple potatoes may be a potent colon cancer fighter

Purple potatoes may be a potent colon cancer fighter, according to the latest research from Penn State University.

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.

The new study is not the first to confirm the benefits of purple potatoes. A 2015 study by the same research team also found these benefits, and the new study may confirm it.

In the new study, scientists fed pigs a high-calorie diet including purple potatoes, and found a reduction in an inflammatory protein called interleukin-6 (IL-6), which is known to promote colon cancer.

Study co-author Jairam K.P. Vanamala explained how colorful foods may help promote colon health.

What we are learning is that food is a double-edge sword – it may promote disease, but it may also help prevent chronic diseases, like colon cancer,” says Prof. Vanamala. “What we don’t know is, ‘how does this food work on the molecular level?’ This study is a step in that direction.”

The researchers found that the pigs in the study had significantly lowers levels of IL-6 when they were fed with purple potatoes, compared to the control group which wasn’t.

“We observed that dietary supplementation of purple-fleshed potatoes, even after processing, prevented HCD-induced inflammation. Ultimately, this work is important as [a] chronic inflammatory environment can lead to a multitude of diseases, including type 2 diabetes and colon cancer.”

The prevalence of chronic inflammation-promoted diseases are on the rise around the globe,” the team adds, “thus, it is critical to develop safe, effective, and affordable dietary interventions or strategies to help prevent the onset of diseases.”

According to the American Cancer Society, excluding skin cancers, colon cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in the United States. They also report that 95,520 new cases of colon cancer will be diagnosed this year.

The study showing that purple potatoes may be a potent colon cancer fighter 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. “How Purple Potatoes Could Prevent Colon Cancer.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 1 Jan. 1970,
2. “A Food-Based Approach That Targets Interleukin-6, a Key Regulator of Chronic Intestinal Inflammation and Colon Carcinogenesis.” Science Direct, The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, May 2017,
3. “Key Statistics for Colorectal Cancer.” American Cancer Society, American Cancer Society,
4. “Anthocyanin-Containing Purple-Fleshed Potatoes Suppress Colon Tumorigenesis via Elimination of Colon Cancer Stem Cells.” Science Direct, The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, Dec. 2015,
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