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Eating This Potato Could Help You Hit a Normal Blood Sugar Range

Add the power of purple to your plate for some sweet health benefits.

High blood sugar can damage certain body parts, just like dirty oil can muck up a car's engine. But there might be a novel way to help prevent some of that blood sugar badness: the purple sweet potato. 

Dark fruits and veggies, like the purple sweet potato, are loaded with anthocyanins. And lab studies show that these potent antioxidant compounds interfere with cell-damaging processes that are triggered by a high blood sugar range. 

Anthocyanins: armor for your heart 
Here's how it all works: Chronically high blood sugar can cause proteins to bind with sugar molecules in the body. This is the first step in a long chain of reactions that eventually leads to compounds called advanced glycation end products (AGEs). And AGEs have been implicated as part-culprits in a host of conditions, from diabetes to heart disease. But in a lab study, anthocyanin extracts from a purple sweet potato put the brakes on this glycation process, slowing it down over 50 percent. In turn, this led researchers to suspect that these tubers could be beneficial in mitigating high blood sugar damage. 

Purple sweet potato benefits 
So what about yellow sweet potatoes? Not nearly as powerful. They only inhibited these harmful protein glycations a mere 7 percent. Of course, study in humans is needed to confirm whether eating purple sweet potatoes will confer any measurable benefit to people with blood-sugar range problems. But plenty of other research suggests that anthocyanins from darkly colored foods help slow down the aging process and help protect the body from things like cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline and cancer. 

Medically reviewed in October 2018. Updated in March 2021. 

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