Sweet potatoes that might just prevent cancer

July 23, 2009 by  
Filed under CANCER

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)

purpple-potato-kansas-suAnthocyanins are the compounds that give dark fruits (blueberries, red currants, brambles, blood oranges, red grapes) their pigmentation. They are also present in vegetables such red cabbage, red beets, purple corn, and eggplant peels. And now they are also present in sweet potaoes – the purple kind, that is. The purple sweet potato has been specially bred by researchers at Kansas Stte University. But for what purpose? For the prevention of cancer.

Anthocyanins are anti-oxidants and are believed to have health benefits and medicinal value for a wide range of ailments, from cardiovascular disease to cancer. Because they are present in high abundance in nature and in the food stuff we eat everyday, they have become one of the most popular research topics of nutritionists and epidemiologists.

The purple sweet potatoes are really purple inside as well as outside, and well, have significantly higher concentrations fo anthocyanins than ordinary sweet potatoes you normally find in the supermarmet. Especially dominant were two anthyocynin pigment derivatives cyanidin and peonidin. Aside from these two, the potaoes have also much higher total phenolic content. Phenols are also strong anti-oxidants and were reported to have some anti-aging properties.

So here are the advantages of this new “dark” breed of sweet potatoes:

  • Higher anti-oxidant capacity
  • Potential anti-aging properties
  • High anti-cancer components

To test for anti-cancer properties, the researchers treated cultures of human colon cancer cells with cyanidin and peonidin. The results showed “significant cell growth inhibition for the cancer cells, but there were no significant changes in the cell cycle.”

This research is just one of the many that is trying to breed fruit and vegetables that contain more than the usual anthocyanin content. Some of the breeding are done the traditional way whereas others are done using genetic engineering. Plants that are easy to grown, eaten in large quantities, and are usually available the whole year round are especially targetted, such as tomotoes, and yes – sweet potatoes.

Other plants that are rich in anthocyanins are (source: wikipedia)

Food source Anthocyanin content in mg per 100 g












Marion blackberry


black raspberry




wild blueberry






red grape


red wine


purple corn


 Photo credit: Kansas State University

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
  • Winsor Pilates

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!


Random Battling For Health Products From Our Store

NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.

Read previous post:
Blind, yet with a vision: Cathy Birchall’s world tour on a motorbike

UPDATE: November 2012 I have been informed by Bernand Smith regarding error of this post .... as well to point...