Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Purple Potatoes

Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Purple Potatoes

September 14, 2019 32 By Ewald Bahringer


“Anti-Inflammatory Effects
of Purple Potatoes” From a recent review on
diet and inflammation by Dr. Leo Galland,
who, when I was a kid, actually used to be my doctor: “Inflammation has recently emerged as an important aspect of the
development of age-related infirmity and the major chronic diseases
of industrialized societies,… heart disease,… diabetes,
Alzheimer’s,… cancer.” And we have markers of inflammation now, like C-reactive protein,
which are easy to measure, and give a sense of how much
inflammation there is in our bodies, which is predictive for the development of some of these diseases. We know plant-based food in general have anti-inflammatory effects— particularly fruits and vegetables— but not all plant foods. From a 2010 review, extra virgin olive oil decreases
inflammatory markers compared to corn oil, or non-virgin oil. Tomato juice helps, but raw tomatoes don’t appear to. Walnuts, red wine, and flax meal work; garlic powder doesn’t. Mixed data on tea, but sweet cherries do seem
to decrease inflammation. There have since been a few
new studies to add to this list; one showing that those eating just
four servings of legumes a week— lentils, chickpeas, peas, beans— dropped C-reactive protein levels
a whopping 40% in two months. And then, apparently, the first study ever to address
the effects of potato consumption on oxidation and inflammation
in humans was published. And not just any potatoes; there’s all sorts of new
varieties out there. First, though, they looked at regular potatoes,
white russet potatoes. One steamed potato a day for six weeks. Inflammation, as measured by
C-reactive protein levels in the blood, tended to go up. Next, potatoes with yellow
flesh did a bit better. But neither were significantly
different than baseline. Only purple potatoes, potatoes with purple flesh, significantly decreased inflammation. And same thing was found for oxidation. In this 2012 study, within hours of consumption, purple potatoes increased the antioxidant
capacity of one’s bloodstream, whereas white potato starch
appeared to have a pro-oxidant effect. And purple potatoes also appeared to help lower blood pressure in folks with hypertension. They put people on six to eight
small, microwaved purple potatoes a day, and concluded “purple potatoes are
an effective hypotensive agent and lower the risk of heart disease and stroke in hypertensive subjects without weight gain.” Combined with a reduction in
inflammation and DNA damage, purple potatoes offer “consumers an improved nutritional choice
in potato consumption.”