Native to South America, purple potatoes are an increasingly common sight in North American grocery stores. With their rich violet color, purple potatoes can be used like regular potatoes. Indeed, their bright splash of color lends an exotic flair to traditional dishes. Purple potatoes are especially rich in antioxidants and are a good source of dietary fiber.
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A serving of three small purple potatoes has 131 calories, with no fat or cholesterol. This serving of purple potatoes also has 3 grams of protein and 30 grams of carbohydrates. In addition, this size serving has 55 percent of the daily value, or DV, of vitamin C and 7 percent of the DV of iron, based on a diet of 2,000 calories a day.
A single serving of purple potatoes has 4 grams of dietary fiber which is 16 percent of the DV of fiber for those on a 2,000-calorie diet. The majority of adults do not get enough daily dietary fiber, which should be around 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories consumed. Purple potatoes, as a medium-starch potato, are a good source of dietary fiber and can increase your daily intake of this important nutrient. Dietary fiber makes you feel full faster and can reduce the risk of constipation.
Unlike their white-fleshed counterparts, purple potatoes are rich in anthocyanins and carotenoids, which are natural antioxidants. Anthocyanins give purple potatoes their rich color. According to a study published in 2012 in the “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry,” the antioxidant content of purple potatoes helps lower blood pressure levels without lowering overall weight. Scientists concluded from this human study, in which participants were fed six to eight small purple potatoes twice a day for four weeks, that purple potatoes are effective against high blood pressure levels and may help reduce the risk of heart disease.
Using Purple Potatoes
Purple potatoes are versatile because of their medium-starch level. This means they can be used for baking, roasting, frying and mashing. But purple potatoes can become a little mushy when overcooked, and despite their rich, vibrant color, their flavor is less pronounced than that of other varieties. Purple potatoes, like other potatoes, are rarely eaten plain, so keep them healthy by using low-fat cooking methods, such as boiling or baking. Keep your condiments healthful by using olive oil instead of butter and low-fat sour cream in place of the full-fat variety.