RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—In the United States, the potato is king of the veggies. Americans chow down on more than a whopping 130 pounds of spuds each year, on average. The problem is, half of potatoes eaten in the U.S. are in the unfavorable form of french fries, potato chips, and other belt-busting junk-food treats. Knowing this, it's easy to understand why the reputation of potatoes has been mashed through the years. But a 2011 study published in the Journal of Nutrition could have you fixin' healthy, fresh taters again. Researchers found that people who eat pigmented potatoes boast lower levels of oxidative stress and inflammation, factors linked to chronic disease, when compared to eaters of white potatoes. "The colorful varieties do contain more antioxidants. For example, pink, red, blue, and purple potatoes provide anthocyanins, which are thought to be responsible for the health benefits of many berries," explains Mary Ellen Camire, PhD, a fellow with the Institute of Food Technologists and a professor of food science and human nutrition at the University of Maine. She also notes that yellow-fleshed potatoes provide carotenoids that could boast vitamin A action.
Here are some colorful potato varieties to grow yourself or look for at the farmer's market this year:
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