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Another Reason To Eat Baked Purple Potatoes

Researchers have discovered a new reason to add purple potatoes to you diet. According to food scientists Jairam K.P. Vanamala and colleagues at Penn State and the University of Colorado, purple potatoes contain compounds that may help kill colon cancer stem cells and limit the spread of the cancer.

Purple Potatoes from Peru

Reduced from a photograph taken 28th January 2004 by Stephen Lea and released under the GFDL by the photographer.

Why is killing cancer stem cells important? “You might want to compare cancer stem cells to roots of weeds,” says Vanamala. “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.”

Vanamala and his fellow researchers found that an extract from baked purple potato suppressed colon cancer stem cells in a lab dish. They tested the compound on mice with colon cancer and found the same results.

According to their results, they estimate that an effective portion size for a human to achieve these results would be equivalent to eating one large purple potato a day. Of course, this has not been tested on people and there is no guarantee that it will work in humans the way it works in mice. However, given the already good reasons to add this root vegetable to your diet, this just gives you a another one to add to the list.

Could eating purple potatoes prevent colon cancer from developing in the first place? We may never know.

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About the author

Carma Spence has been experimenting in the kitchen since she was four years old and loves trying out new recipe ideas. She is the author of Bonkers for Bundt Cakes and Your Perfect Pie, as well as author and contributor to several more non-food-related books. With Carma's Cookery, she is taking her passion for empowering people and blending it with her passion for cooking, gift-giving and entertaining.