Purple-fleshed potatoes are a rich source of anthocyanins – potent plant-based antioxidant compounds. Jairam K.P. Vanamala. from Penn State University (Pennsylvania, USA), and colleagues previously discovered that baked purple-fleshed potato and its extracts suppress early and advanced human colon cancer cell proliferation and induced apoptosis (cell death). In the current study, the team conducted an initial laboratory study in which they observed that baked purple-fleshed potato extract suppressed the spread of colon cancer stem cells while increasing their deaths. The researchers the tested the effect of whole baked purple potatoes on mice with colon cancer and found similar results. Explaining that as well as anthocyanins, purple potatoes, contain resistant starch, which serves as a food for the gut bacteria, that the bacteria can covert to beneficial short-chain fatty acids such as butyric acid – a substance that regulates immune function in the gut and suppresses chronic inflammation, the investigators point out that the portion size for human consumption equates to about the same as eating one baked, large purple-fleshed potato per day.
Venkata Charepalli, Lavanya Reddivari, Sridhar Radhakrishnan, Ramakrishna Vadde, Rajesh Agarwal, Jairam K.P. Vanamala. “Anthocyanin-containing purple-fleshed potatoes suppress colon tumorigenesis via elimination of colon cancer stem cells.” J Nutritional Biochemistry, 14 August 2015.