The Powerful Health Benefits of Purple Sweet Potatoes

For most whole foods, the darker and deeper the colour, the higher the antioxidant level. Sweet potatoes with orange flesh are rich in beta carotene (just as carrots are), while those with purple flesh are rich in anthocyanins (as with blueberries), a type of flavonoid. Anthocyanins have been linked to decreased risk for many chronic diseases.

Purple Potatoes Help Fight Disease

In one study published in The Journal of Nutrition, men who ate purple potatoes instead of an equal amount of white potatoes daily for 6 weeks had less inflammation, along with higher levels of carotenoids, anthocyanins, and phenolic acids (all disease-preventing antioxidants). Over time, this might be linked to lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and reduced risks for heart disease – and even certain kinds of cancer. (Extracts from purple sweet potatoes have been shown in studies to inhibit the growth of breast, gastric, colorectal, and prostate cancer cells by promoting the death of these cancer cells.)

Purple Potatoes Lower Your Blood Pressure

Yes, that’s right. Purple potatoes keep you chill. Another study in Plant Foods for Human Nutrition found that in just 2 weeks of consuming 1 medium purple potato daily instead of 1 medium white potato, blood pressure lowered significantly.

Purple Potatoes Also Reduce Blood Sugar

Purple potatoes may be better than their paler cousins in terms of blood-sugar impact as well. Research in the journal Food & Function discovered that the higher level of antioxidants in these dark-hued tubers may be related to a lower glycemic index (GI). Although sweet potatoes of all colours have more sugar, they’re actually considered “low” on the GI scale compared to regular white potatoes. This means your blood sugar will rise more slowly, preventing a sharp spike and subsequent crash. (Research indicates the higher level of antioxidants in these dark-hued tubers may be related to a lower GI. The GI, measured on a scale of 0-100, indicates how carbohydrate-containing foods can affect your blood sugar levels. A reading greater than 70 is considered high. The GI of a boiled sweet potato is 46.)

USEFUL TIP:  Eat sweet potatoes with the skin to get the maximum amount of health benefits. Sweet potato skins are rich in fibre, antioxidants, and nutrients like potassium, manganese, and Vitamins A, C, and E, all of which may help improve your health.

– Adapted from an article in Nutritious Life