Purple Potatoes: Royal Super Spud

Purple potatoes

Americans’ love affair with potatoes has added to our weight problems, but purple potatoes may be the super spud we need to negate the downside of white potatoes while improving our health. No matter their size or shape, purple potatoes have royal benefits.

Purple potatoes have 4 times the content of antioxidants as russet potatoes. Within hours of eating purple potatoes, the blood is filled with antioxidants, fighting free radicals and protecting cells in the body from damage. The purple pigment comes from anthocyanin. This group of flavonoids appears to help protect us from cancer and heart disease, as well as strengthen the immune system and protect against age-related memory loss.

All potatoes are naturally high in potassium, which helps to balance body fluids and regulate blood pressure, but the extra antioxidants in purple potatoes make them even more effective. One of these antioxidants is a polyphenol called chlorogenic acid that has been shown to lower blood pressure in animals. The USDA recently conducted a study with overweight, hypertensive participants. The participants in the treatment group consumed six to eight golf ball-sized purple potatoes, twice daily for one month, and their blood pressure decreased by an average of 4 percent without any weight gain. The next month, the same participants did not eat the purple potatoes, and their blood pressure no longer decreased.

It has recently become better understood that chronic inflammation in the body is an important factor in the development of chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and many types of cancer. When studying the effect of potatoes on inflammation in the body, researchers discovered that when people ate white or russet potatoes, their levels of inflammation went up. Yellow potatoes were a little better, but still increased inflammation levels. Sweet potatoes were better still, but purple potatoes were the most effective in terms of decreasing inflammation significantly. If you want to learn more about the effect of various foods on inflammation in the body, watch this 2 1/2 minute video by Dr. Michael Greger.

Another problem with white potatoes is the quick rate at which the sugar is broken down and absorbed into the blood stream. This high glycemic index causes an inappropriate hormone response in our body that may heighten our desire for more carbohydrates, and thus lead to overeating. Red potatoes have a better glycemic index than white, but purple potatoes and sweet potatoes have a low glycemic index: the carbohydrate is released more slowly into the bloodstream, making blood sugars and body weight easier to manage.

Roasted Potato MedleyAll potatoes, including purple potatoes, are a fairly good source of vitamin C, Vitamin B6, potassium, tryptophan, manganese, and fiber. The use of high cooking temperatures to make French fries and potato chips destroys most of these healthy nutrients, and baked and mashed potatoes are often loaded with butter, sour cream, and cheese, making them somewhat less healthy as well. Roasting potatoes with a little oil is a healthier and tasty way to prepare any potato, since it brings out the natural sugars and caramelizes the potatoes. Introduce purple potatoes to your family and friends by roasting them with red potatoes, and orange and purple sweet potatoes, to make this beautiful side, Roasted Potato Medley. They will love them and you will notice that the purple ones disappear first after eaters get used to the color. Anything you can do with other potatoes, you can do with purple potatoes. We would love to hear what you make with purple potatoes, so share your ideas in the comment section below.

Take November’s (2013) Healthy Challenge and eat purple potatoes. Replace white potatoes (especially french fries and fat-loaded mashed and baked potatoes) with purple potatoes on a regular basis. Dress up your Thanksgiving table with purple potatoes for an outstanding new tradition! They are so delicious, everyone will thank you.













  • Nevada Smith
    September 2, 2015

    I disagree with the statement that butter makes potatoes less healthy. Show me actual clinical studies.

  • Mike M
    January 10, 2016

    Over the last six months I went from pre-diabetes to full fledged type 2. I had already modified my diet considerably, but found it difficult to stop my morning trips to a certain Mac fast food location to get a chicken biscuit, hash brown, and coffee with no sugar. My A1C number crept up until I cut that out. Dr wanted me to switch to sweet potatoes, but they are not the same flavor and I have never liked them. Enter purple potatoes. I just boil them in water sprinkled with pink sea salt, and mash them with half a stick of butter for the whole bag. And that’s it. They don’t need anything else. The only warning I have is not to eat them alone, as they will still cause a sugar crash. But they look and taste great as a dip for celery sticks, or even carrot sticks. Way better than humus dip to me.

  • Les
    March 2, 2016

    Got some in a bag with small yellow & white potatoes on Kroger clearance rack. Boiled all of them for ready sides during week with a little salt & butter.. Color was offsetting till I tasted it. Tasted just like a potato. Checked it out online and discovered how healthy it was. Returned to Kroger looking for more. Turns out it was leftover from a special order but they were willing to order more for me. I told them they needed to have nutritional info on them and sample give away. I know they’d be in demand. If you haven’t tried them, ask your grocer.

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