Inflammatory cycles go something like this: First, free radicals in your body -- generated by stress, illness, pollutants, and normal everyday body processes -- start to damage cells and tissues. In response, your body releases IL-6 to help corral and neutralize some of those free radicals. But chronically high levels of IL-6 can up your risk of inflammation-related diseases. Enter, potatoes. Research suggests that antioxidants in yellow potatoes -- like phenols and carotenoids -- may help fight the out-of-control inflammation that makes you susceptible to a wide range of illnesses, from heart disease to cancer.
Purple potatoes seemed to be beneficial, too. In the study, adult men up to age 40 ate a cup of boiled potatoes every day for 6 weeks. The men who ate yellow potatoes had lower levels of IL-6 and exhibited less DNA damage compared with the men who ate white potatoes. Purple-potato eaters had lower levels of a different inflammatory marker, C-reactive protein, compared with white-potato eaters. Researchers suspect the rich pigments in colored potatoes help protect cells, tissue, and DNA from the free radical injuries that initiate inflammation.