The frequent consumption of purple potatoes can decrease the risk of colon cancer, claim the researchers of a compelling new study. According to the DailyMail.co.uk, the researchers came to this conclusion after they gave pigs a high-calorie diet that included purple potatoes. In doing so they found that the levels of a detrimental, pro-inflammatory protein declined considerably.
What we are learning is food is a double-edge sword it may promote disease, but it may also help prevent chronic diseases, like colon cancer, said Jairam K.P. Vanamala, study co-author and professor of food sciences at Pennsylvania State University in State College.”What we don’t know is, ‘how does this food work on the molecular level?’ This study is a step in that direction.
For their study, Vanamala and his colleagues utilized pigs, which are notable for having digestive systems similar to ours. These pigs were then fed three different diets for 13 weeks: a standard diet with five percent fat (or the control diet), a high-calorie diet composed of 17 percent added dry fat and three to four percent endogenous fat, and a high-calorie diet with both raw and uncooked purple potatoes.
After 13 weeks passed, the researchers analyzed the animals’ colonic tissues to determine the effects of their diets. Compared to the pigs who had been placed on the standard diet, the pigs on the high-calorie diet showed increased levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6), an endogenous chemical suspected to increase the risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes and colon cancer. By contrast, the pigs who had been supplemented with purple potatoes had IL-6 levels six times lower than the pigs belonging to the control group. Moreover, these benefits were observed in uncooked and baked purple potatoes.
Vanamala and his colleagues stated that the positive impact was most likely due to the nutritional content present in whole foods like purple potatoes. Not only do these foods contain macronutrients like proteins, but micronutrients and phytonutrients such as carotenoids and flavonoids too. Vanamala suggested that the abundance of bioactive compounds like phenolic acids and anthocyanins may have altered the IL-6 pathway and decreased the pigs’ susceptibility to colon cancer.
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