Purple Corn expresses one of the deepest purple shades found in the plant kingdom, this vibrant purple hue being indicative of the kind of antioxidants it contains – anthocyanins. These powerful compounds make Purple Corn stand head and shoulders above regular corn in terms of contribution to health. A 2004 study published in “The Journal of Nutrition” found that one particular anthocyanin found in Purple Corn – CG3 – has the potential to fight obesity and diabetes. CG3 is reported to be one of the most powerful antioxidants in existence, coming out top when tested against 13 other anthocyanins in the ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) assay, which tests for antioxidant activity.
Purple corn is cultivated in coastal areas, as well as in mountain highlands and valleys in Peru. A staple in the Incan civilization, purple corn almost became a lost crop, but luckily purple corn is still grown in Peru. This crop also thrives in South America as well as in American goods.
Purple corn is purple in color due to a deep vibrant hue derived from its nutrient-dense pigmentation. Scientists believe that the pigmentation development is attributed to something environmental in the soil, water, or climate of Peru, but the explanation is yet unknown. Mysteriously, purple corn will lose its color when planted in other countries, sometimes even presenting as yellow corn. One of the more popular uses for purple corn is in chicha morada, a brightly flavored sweet drink. It is used as a base for drinks, sorbets, puddings, and popsicles or used to make bread or pancakes.
Purple corn is full of antioxidants and phytonutrients, which helps to keep the body healthy and protect it from damage by strengthening the body’s immunity and decreasing the inflammatory response of inflammation-causing diseases. These antioxidants and phytonutrients protect the body from carcinogens such as prostate cancer and potentially prevent the development of colon cancer. They help to reduce the damage to cells, resulting in the decrease of risk of cancer cell formation.
It also has a particular phytonutrient called anthocyanins. This potent anti-inflammatory phytonutrient enhances memory, is anti-carcinogenic, and aides with cardiovascular health. Recent research has shown that dietary consumption of anthocyanins was associated with a 15% reduction in the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Additionally, purple corn can potentially reduce the risk of heart disease-most likely due to decreased coagulation of platelets and increased circulation of HDL cholesterol, and can prevent long term kidney damage in people with type 2 diabetes by protecting renal cells. Diabetes is often associated with ophthalmology complications, so these antioxidants help increase visual acuity and improve night vision. Purple corn also aids in regeneration of connective tissue and collagen formation for healthy skin, which is important for diabetes management.
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