raw purple potatoA new study links purple potatoes to a lower risk of colon cancer – in pigs. Although you may be thinking ‘wait, what?,’ there’s significance for us humans, too.

According to the Pennsylvania State University study findings, to find out how the veggie — rich in anti-inflammatory, antioxidant compounds — might affect colon cancer risk, researchers fed three groups of pigs one of three diets for 13 weeks: high-calorie diet, high-calorie diet supplemented with raw or baked purple potatoes, or a standard, controlled diet.

Following the trial, scientists screened the pigs’ colonic tissue for markers linked to colon cancer. They found that when compared to the controlled group, the little piggies which chomped down on a high-calorie diet had higher levels of IL-6, a pro-inflammatory protein known to increase colon cancer risk, while the animals fed the high-calorie diet supplemented with purple potatoes had IL-6 levels that were six times lower than IL-6 levels in the control group.

More than 95,000 new cases of colon cancer were diagnosed just this year in the United States. Although further research is needed, the results, published in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, are hopeful. Furthermore, colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women in the United States and the second leading cause in men, according to the American Cancer Society. It’s expected to cause about 50,260 deaths during 2017.

Much like many other diseases, there are risk factors both preventable and unpreventable which can increase your risk of getting colon cancer. In fact, several lifestyle factors including the relationship between diet, weight, and physical activity are some of the strongest for any type of cancer.

When it comes to diet, consider stocking up on the following foods, proven to aid in warding off colon cancer.

Fiber rich foods:

  • Whole-grain cereals and breads, or brown rice
  • Berries
  • Kidney beans and other legumes

Fiber isn’t just good for overall health. It’s believed that it’s a powerful weapon against cancer.