What is the healthiest potato?

What’s the verdict on gold, red & purple potatoes?

Ionestamot / Originally posted in Toxins in Cooked Potatoes?


The healthiest potatoes are probably sweet potatoes (see my video about sweet potatoes), but if you are going to eat plain potatoes, the varieties with colored flesh (not just skin) do appear healthier.

new study published this month found that the consumption of 6-8 microwaved purple potatoes a day (they’re pretty small) resulted in a boost in antioxidant capacity of the blood (whereas the plain potato starch control acted as a pro-oxidant) and a drop in blood pressure in overweight individuals. “Thus,” they concluded, “purple potatoes are an effective hypotensive agent and lower the risk of heart disease and stroke in hypertensive subjects without weight gain.”

Last year a study found that purple potatoes appeared to suppress both early and late stage human colon cancer cells in vitro, but only if they were fresh. After being in storage a few months their anti-cancer properties diminished.

Finally, another study published last year (and this one available full-text), found a trend towards lower inflammation in men eating purple potatoes than white, concluding “Pigmented potato consumption reduced inflammation and DNA damage in healthy adult males. This offers consumers an improved nutritional choice in potato consumption.”  See my video Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Purple Potatoes.

Purple sweet potatoes may offer the best of both worlds, as suggested in an in vitro study last year on human fat cells that suggested anti-obesity, anti-oxidant, and anti-inflammatory benefits.

Image Credit: orchidgalore / Flickr

  • Tobias Brown

    What about raw white potatoes? I would not normally eat a raw sweet potatoes but it’s common to munch a raw white potatoes. So, it’s still a harmful food when uncooked, which is your rating on a different video for baked potatoes. (What about steamed?)

    • Toxins

      Raw potatoes contain many antinutrients and these antinutrients are eliminated through cooking.

  • Colin

    I’m confused about the poor old spud. Dr McDougall, who bases his dietary recommendations around starches and plants claims that the humble potato is great and that we can eat lots of it. In fact he said that people have existed on diets that consist of potato and water and lived .. healthily!


    Is he wrong?

    • Roberta

      Mcdougall is to be commended for pointing out the ill effects of animal foods ,however , his directives do not consider the lastest research. Many of his examples are from his mentor and nearly 80 decades old. The lastest researcher ported by Dr Greger is about UPTIMAL eating for UPTIMAL health. mcDougle’s low nutrient starch based diet may be able to sustain populations but the newest research provides knowledge for UPTIMAL health and longjevity. Take for instance !this new research showing the value of purple potatoes over white.

      • What kinds of potatoes do they eat in potato-originating Peru where they have low rates of heart disease and diabetes?

        PS. UPTIMAL?

  • lovestobevegan

    If you could only eat one food the rest of your life better make it potatoes. Potatoes contain all the vitamins and minerals your body needs, meaning you could survive on an all potato diet. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1252113/pdf/biochemj01140-0284.pdf The garlic and onions in the recipe add
    cancer-fighting power http://nutritionfacts.org/video/1-anticancer-vegetable/, the
    spices provide antioxidants http://nutritionfacts.org/video/antioxidants-in-a-pinch/,and the beans contribute molybdenum, folate, fiber (nearly 15 grams per cup) and protein (also 15 grams) in addition to reducing blood pressure, inflammation, and lowering body weight. Make this for breakfast, lunch, or dinner or enjoy as a healthy snack.

    Hashing It Out

    – 2-3 large onions, thinly sliced
    – 3 lbs organic* potatoes, peeled and cubed
    – 4 cups cooked^ black beans
    – 3 large tomatoes, chopped
    – 3 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
    – 1 tbsp thyme
    – 1 tsp cilantro
    – 1 tsp basil
    – 1 tsp marjoram
    – ¼ tsp black pepper
    – Sea salt

    Crush and mince garlic http://nutritionfacts.org/questions/what-are-the-anti-cancer-effects-of-garlic/ then set aside. Cook onions in a dry, uncovered skillet over medium heat until soft and caramelized, 30-35 minutes. Cook potatoes in a separate, dry and covered skillet over high heat for a couple minutes. Turn heat down to low, add tomatoes and continue cooking, while stirring occasionally, until potatoes tender. Add beans, garlic, spices, and caramelized onions. Season to taste with sea salt.

    *Potatoes rank 10th (up from 12th last year) in the “dirty dozen: 12 foods to eat
    organic” so choose organic. http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/list.php

    ^If using canned beans select those packaged in BPA-free cans such as Eden Organic brand. http://nutritionfacts.org/video/bpa-plastic-and-male-sexual-dysfunction/

    Bookmark my new Plant-Based Emporium Facebook page for all my latest recipes.

    ~Complements of lovestobevegan

  • Pelasgiann

    In the first study you cite, purple potatoes were compared with refined starch as cooked biscuits and not white/yellow potatoes.
    In the last study, participants consumed a total of 150 g/d of cooked potato for 6 wk. One small potato per day is an inadequate intervention and thus can’t produce reliable results. However, you failed to mention that yellow potatoes were almost equally beneficial.
    I see a bias against white/yellow potatoes. Don’t let it get in the way. You can do better. Let it go. All potatoes are low in calorie density and high in nutrient density and satiety (actually by far the most filling food). They are an excellent choice for health and longevity.

    • Roberta

      What I learned from these potato vids is to choose purple, don’t store for a long time, and peel them. And of course ,sweet potatoes are a great choice. Buying purple , for me, will be letting the potato industry know to grow less white potatoes.

      • The potato industry grows most of its produce for McDonalds.

  • Gabrielle

    Is it the peel of the purple potato that is good, the insides, or both?

  • amit

    what about pink potatos? is it also better than white?

  • Victor

    Which potatoes are best to help fat loss(low starch/low carbs)??

    • Fat loss is best accomplished by consuming foods with lower energy density or calorie density. All potatoes unless processed or cooked with higher energy density foods such as oils meet this criteria. Exercise is important component as regular exercise tends to suppress appetite and increase metabolism. I have found “cronometer” to be a useful free website for calculating calorie density. You can search for a specific food in this case potato and select the specific food of interest. By changing the serving size to “454” (i.e the number of grams per pound) and the serving to “g” you will get calories/pound. So you get respectively, sweet potatoes(390), red potatoes(404) and baked potatoes(422). So all potatoes are similar but given these three the sweet potatoes would be the best choice. However if you take the potato and cut into strips and place in a fryer with any oil, that are 4000 calories/pound you get fast food french fries at 1466 or restaurant fries at 1290… no longer a good approach to fat loss. For reference table sugar and protein are at 1800 cal/pound. The lower numbers are achieved by the presence of water and fiber. Starches are not a problem for folks trying to loss weight. Carbs come in many forms. The best presentation I have seen that ties this all together is Jeff Novick’s presentation, Calorie Density: Eat more, weigh less and live longer.
      Hope this is helpful.

  • LHG

    Sweet potatoes aren’t potatoes, Doctor…

  • Bruce Cropley

    Any updates on this? It seems to be an important and contentious topic. i.e. are cooked white potatoes bad for us?

  • Rosemary Guy

    I still think it could be a bit reductionist taking potatoes out because of one compound although agree that sweet potatoes are better. I’d be more inclined to take pasta and bread out before potatoes