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This Purple Food Has Been Found To Help Prevent Cancer

This Purple Food Has Been Found To Help Prevent Cancer

Some of you have probably never heard of a purple potato before. They’re widely used in South American cuisine, and have their origins in Bolivia and Peru. I urge you to go buy one just to see for yourself. These potatoes are really purple. I mean vivid, beautiful, outrageously purple. “And they beat cancer,” you ask? Yes. At least, that’s what recent research has shown. The experiment targeted colon cancer, so it’s unknown how effective purple potatoes are in treating other forms of cancer. But the research looks promising.

What’s in Purple Potatoes?

purple-potato
    (FlavorBoulevard)

    Researchers discovered several substances in the colorful root vegetable that function to kill cancer stem cells. Attacking stem cells is key, explains Jairam K.P. Vanamala at Penn State. Vanamala uses the analogy of the weed to explain the importance of getting at the stem cells. He says that, “you may cut the weed, but as long as the roots are still there, the weeds will keep growing back.” Like the roots of weeds, he elaborates, “if the cancer stem cells are still present, the cancer can still grow and spread.”

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    Anthocyanins, found in purple potatoes, belong to the flavonoid family of phytochemicals. They’re water-soluble pigments, the substances that give purple potatoes their color. Anthocyanins are found in flowers, fruits, vegetables, and cereal grains, giving them purple, red, and blue hues. Not just pretty, this flavonoid fights cancer at its root.

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    The resistant starch found in purple potatoes plays an important anti-cancer role too. It sustains the health of gut bacteria. In case you haven’t heard, gut bacteria is a hot topic in the health world right now. It’s getting a lot of attention for the wide impact it has on mood, cognitive function, immunity, and all kinds of diseases from Crohn’s disease to diabetes. The bacteria then converts resistant starch to short-chain fatty acids, which work to decrease inflammation, one of which is butyric acid. Resistant starch is present in white potatoes as well as purple. Chlorogenic acid is another anti-cancer agent, and is a chemical compound found in resistant starch. It’s received attention from another food source – the coffee bean.

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    Will It Make My Skin Turn Purple?

    No, your skin won’t turn purple! And you don’t think you have to eat an all-purple diet either. Anthocyanins from purple potatoes destroy colon cancer stem cells, but that’s just one type of cancer. Instead of focusing on one cancer, and one food, Vanamala recommends eating the rainbow when selecting vegetables and fruits. Eating plant sources in a variety of colors is important because, “instead of one compound, you have thousands of compounds, working on different pathways to suppress the growth of cancer stem cells.” We’ve heard this before – that we should eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. So this isn’t really news. The salient information, though, is that variety isn’t just key for general health. Eating an assortment of colorful fruits and vegetables is smart because it helps combat cancer. Vanamala confirms that because “cancer is such a complex disease, a silver bullet approach is just not possible for most cancers.”

    How Do You Eat a Purple Potato?

    purple pie
      (Flickr/arndog)

      Purple potatoes are similar in texture to the plain-looking russet potato, so you can really use them in any potato dish. Bake them, mash them, but use some caution if you’re combining purple potatoes with other less colorful ingredients, especially if you’re cooking food to share.  If you’re making potato salad, for example, you’ll have an extremely colorful dish that may shock your guests. Do a quick online search and you’ll find tons of recipes. There are some creative cooks out there like Smitten Kitchen who create gorgeous purple potato dishes with other bold-colored ingredients. Check out her fork-crushed purple potato recipe and start fighting cancer with food today!

      Featured photo credit: photo by iris on flicker.com via flickr.com

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      Last Updated on September 20, 2018

      How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

      How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

      Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

      If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

      1. Breathe

      The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

      • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
      • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
      • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

      Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

      2. Loosen up

      After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

      Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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      3. Chew slowly

      Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

      Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

      Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

      4. Let go

      Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

      The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

      It’s not. Promise.

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      Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

      Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

      21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

      5. Enjoy the journey

      Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

      Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

      6. Look at the big picture

      The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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      Will this matter to me…

      • Next week?
      • Next month?
      • Next year?
      • In 10 years?

      Hint: No, it won’t.

      I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

      Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

      7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

      You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

      Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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      8. Practice patience every day

      Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

      • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
      • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
      • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

      Final thoughts

      Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

      Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

      Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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