Sweet Potato Found To Inhibit Colon & Lung Cancer In Vivo

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Sweet Potato Found To Inhibit Colon & Lung Cancer In Vivo
Sweet Potato Found To Inhibit Colon & Lung Cancer In Vivo. Graphic © herbshealthhappiness.com.
Image 1 © Dr 방원장 – Wikipedia – lic. under CC-BY-4.0. Image 2 © Llez – Wikipedia – lic. under CC-BY-SA-3.0

Some varieties of potatoes have shown interesting results in cancer research studies. First – purple potatoes: A study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry [1] has found that potatoes, especially the purple kind, have strong anticancer properties. Potatoes contain a type of starch that our body breaks down into a substance called butyric acid. Butyric acid regulates the immune function of the gut, reduces inflammation and can cause cancer cells to self-destruct. Besides butyric acid, purple potatoes also contain high levels of anthocyanins (pigments found in various red, orange and purple fruits and vegetables) which can suppress the growth of colon cancer stem cells. The anticancer property of anthocyanins was so potent it was able to inhibit the growth of colorectal cancer cells by as high as 48 percent. [2]

Now on to sweet potatoes: In a study published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology, [3] the authors found a protein in sweet potatoes that can effectively stop the proliferation and metastasis of colon cancer cells in the laboratory. This protein, aptly called sweet potato protein or SPP, is a breakthrough substance in the field of cancer research.

Sweet Potato Protein Can Stop Lung Cancer Metastasis In Vivo

Given that SPP can strongly inhibit colon cancer growth in lab tests, it’s no surprise that according to animal research findings, it can do the same to lung cancer in mice. This could translate to possible lung cancer human application in the future.

Purple Sweet Potatoes Show Potential As A Treatment For Breast And Stomach Cancers

(Note, these are purple sweet potatoes, not the same as ‘ordinary’ purple potatoes. In the early research findings, purple-fleshed sweet potato extract showed promise in inhibiting the growth of both breast and gastric cancer. Researchers are now convinced of the potential application of sweet potatoes in both the nutraceutical and pharmaceutical industry. [4]

Tips For Getting The Best From Your Sweet Potatoes

Baking is the way to go: Baking is a delicious way of enjoying sweet potatoes, not only that, a finding published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry [5] says it is healthier. Weirdly enough, sweet potatoes when baked produces an extract that was confirmed to induce death in leukemia cell based on lab studies.

Keep The Skin On: Peeling sweet potatoes can be a chore. So it’s great news that you may not have to peel them at all. Lab research has shown that the skin contains constituents that are rich in antioxidants capable of protecting against head, neck, breast, and ovarian cancer. [6]

Additional Health Benefits Of Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes Are Rich In Nutrients

Sweet potatoes are naturally rich in vitamin A, C, B1, B2, B3 and a whole host of minerals. Added to that, they are also rich in fiber and boast a low score on the glycemic index scale. This makes them perfect for those looking for ways to help them lose weight and regulate their blood sugar. [7]

Sweet Potatoes Are Great For Weight Loss

The same sweet potato protein mentioned earlier has also been linked to weight loss. Japanese researchers noticed that when mice are fed a high-fat diet together with SPP, their blood tests showed decreased levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, and elevated levels of hunger-controlling hormones. This provides proof that sweet potatoes can be beneficial when used in a weight loss diet. [8]

So the next time you visit your grocery, give sweet potatoes a shot. You’ll get more than what you are paying for and then some.


[1 ] Anthocyanin-containing purple-fleshed potatoes suppress colon tumorigenesis via elimination of colon cancer stem cells (2015). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26383537

[2] Anthocyanins and their role in cancer prevention (2008). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2582525/

[3] Anticancer effects of sweet potato protein on human colorectal cancer cells (2013). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23745032

[4] Anti-Inflammatory and Anticancer Activities of Taiwanese Purple-Fleshed Sweet Potatoes (Ipomoea batatas L. Lam) Extracts (2015). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26509161

[5] Potential Chemopreventive Properties of Extract from Baked Sweet Potato (Ipomoea batatas Lam. Cv. Koganesengan) (2004). https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf049368w?journalCode=jafcau

[6] Sweet Potato Peels and Cancer Prevention (2016). https://tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01635581.2016.1225107?journalCode=hnuc20

[7] Ascorbic Acid, Thiamin, Riboflavin, and Vitamin B6 Contents Vary between Sweet Potato Tissue Types (2014). https://hortsci.ashspublications.org/content/49/11/1470.abstract

[8] Effects of a sweet potato protein digest on lipid metabolism in mice administered a high-fat diet (2012). https://heliyon.com/article/e00201

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