Purple potatoes don’t just look fabulous. They’re also highly nutritious and come packed with amazing health benefits that everyone should know!
From cardiovascular health support to cognitive performance enhancement, these tubers have so much more to offer than the white potatoes most of us enjoy.
Here’s a quick list of the ten most exciting health benefits of purple potatoes, followed by two simple and delicious recipes for you.
1. May help to control blood pressure
Several studies reported that purple potatoes may lower blood pressure, possibly due to their high content of chlorogenic acid and potassium. Just make sure to cook them in a healthy way! In other words, opt for boiled or roasted instead of deep-fried purple potato meals.
2. Are full of powerful antioxidants
Anthocyanins are pigments from the flavonoid group that give purple potatoes their vibrant color. These phytochemicals are also potent antioxidants that may reduce oxidative stress and help the body neutralize free radicals.
3. Promote liver health and soothe liver inflammation
The flavonoids in purple potatoes can calm down liver inflammation caused by high-fat diets, as reported in animal studies. Even a low-intensity inflammatory process could lead to impaired liver function, so it’s great to know there’s such a delicious way of fixing the situation.
4. Reduce brain inflammation
High-fat diets are detrimental not only to the liver: they may cause inflammation in the nervous system as well. Luckily, studies report that the anthocyanins in purple potatoes can help to soothe brain inflammation, suggesting that these flavonoids have significant neuroprotective action.
5. Are beneficial for blood vessel health
Arterial stiffness is a massive risk factor for cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure, stroke, and heart failure. A study published in 2018 reported that Purple Majesty, a variety of purple potatoes, is effective in reducing arterial stiffness after just two weeks of daily intake!
6. May enhance cognitive performance
Although we need more clinical studies to say for sure, some animal trials reported that purple potatoes can enhance memory and general cognition in animals. Most likely, this effect is based on the food’s antioxidative potential.
7. Fight excess weight
Purple potatoes are great for weight management thanks to several synergistic features:
- In general, potatoes are quite satiating, meaning they’ll make you less likely to snack between meals
- Potatoes are also rich in dietary fiber. Higher fiber intake is associated with reduced energy intake and may contribute to weight loss
- The antioxidants in purple potatoes have direct anti-obesity properties
8. Have prebiotic action
The anthocyanidins and fiber in purple potatoes promote the growth of healthy bacteria in the guts. Specifically, they support the proliferation of different Lactobacillus bacteria and suppress the growth of dangerous germs like Staphylococcus aureus and Salmonella typhimurium.
9. Have anti-cancer properties
Cancer is an extremely complex health issue that can’t be cured by a single food or lifestyle change. And still, we need all the help we can get—and from every possible source. An animal study published in 2017 reported that the anthocyanins in purple potatoes may help in fighting colorectal cancer. One other paper highlighted that these flavonoids may be effective against bladder cancer as well.
10. May be beneficial for healthy vision
One interesting laboratory study published in 2015 discovered that the flavonoids in purple potato may support eye health by protecting the retinal cells and promoting their division. Of course, we’ll need animal studies and clinical trials to confirm this effect, but the potential is already encouraging!
Purple Potato Recipes
In terms of nutrition, one medium purple potato contains about 149 calories, 34.2 g carbohydrate, and 0.3 g total fat. Purple potatoes are a fabulous source of vitamin C, B1, B3, B6, potassium, manganese, copper, and other nutrients. But what can you cook with them? In general, purple potatoes will add an exotic touch to all your favorite potato dishes without changing their flavor. Here are some simple recipes to get started.
Mashed purple potatoes
- Purple potatoes – 2 pounds
- Milk or heavy cream – 1/3 cup
- Butter – 2 tablespoons
- Seasoning to taste (salt, pepper, your favorite herbs)
- Wash, peel, and cut the potatoes into small chunks.
- Put the potatoes in a pot. Add water until the potatoes are fully submerged.
- Cook until tender when pierced with a knife or fork, about 15-20 minutes on medium heat.
- Drain the potatoes.
- Add butter and milk (or heavy cream).
- Mash with a potato masher or a blender until smooth. Add more milk if needed.
- Season with salt, pepper, and your favorite herbs to taste.
Roasted purple potatoes with garlic and herbs
- Purple potatoes – 2 pounds
- Virgin olive oil – 3-4 tablespoons
- Garlic – 3-4 cloves, minced
- Dried rosemary – 1 tablespoon
- Dried oregano – 1 tablespoon
- Dried basil – 1 tablespoon
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C)
- Wash the potatoes. Cut them into quarters, then put the potato pieces into a big bowl or a cooking bag.
- Top the potatoes with olive oil, garlic, rosemary, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper.
- Toss or shake until the potatoes are well coated with the oil and herbs.
- Transfer the seasoned potatoes to a baking tray lined with aluminum foil. Make sure the potatoes are spread out into a single layer.
- Roast until crisp, about 45 to 60 minutes.
- Serve hot. Season with extra salt and pepper if needed.
Common Purple Potato Questions
Although purple potatoes are exotic only in terms of their color, many people still have a few questions about this seemingly unusual food.
What do purple potatoes taste like?
Purple potatoes taste just like other varieties of potatoes. Their vibrant color is caused by their high content of anthocyanin pigments, but these anthocyanins don’t have a distinctive taste.
Can you eat purple potatoes raw?
Yes, you can eat purple potatoes raw. However, keep in mind that raw purple potatoes aren’t very tasty and may cause digestive issues in people with a sensitive stomach.
Where do purple potatoes come from?
Purple potatoes come from South America, namely Bolivia and Peru. They reached Europe around the 15th century with Spanish sailors, and the United States only in the 20th century.
Purple potatoes provide a colorful twist to all your favorite potato meals, with a long list of additional health benefits as a pleasant bonus. According to multiple studies, purple potatoes may promote cardiovascular health, enhance cognitive performance, and even support the growth of beneficial bacteria in the guts.
Eager to try this natural wonder? Look for one of the three most common purple potato varieties in your local store: Purple Majesty, Purple Peruvian, or Purple Viking. They’re all equally delicious and healthy!