Purple corn is a bit of a novelty. A South American novelty, at that. I was unaware that there was any form of corn other than the standard yellow. Of course, there’s the nasty GM type but we won’t go there. However, watching a program about GM corn in Mexico I became aware that purple corn exists.
According to the wonderful Detox Your World, purple corn comes from Peru usually. It’s an ancient crop which has been found in archeological sites from as long ago as 2500 years. Importantly this stuff really is a superfood good guy. Of special interest is the high anthocyanin content in purple corn. In fact, purple corn has a similar (or higher) level of anthocyanins as blueberries but “higher antioxidant capacity and antiradical kinetics”. In addition, it also contains substantial amounts of phenolics. All in all, purple corn rocks.
So what, with your higher antioxidant capacity, antiradical kinetics and anthocyanin content in purple corn
Many plants are packed with phytochemical good guys. This is why many vegans are full of good health and one reason why the vegan diet seems to have a protective effect against cancer. The good guys known as anthocyanins give the vibrant colours to plants such as blueberries and purple corn. These are strongly implicated in reducing the effects of cancer. From the GreenMedInfo article Do Blueberries Hold The Key To Defeating Cancer?
Blueberries are full of antioxidants and flavonoids that help prevent cell damage. Antioxidants work by neutralizing free radicals, atoms that contain an odd number of electrons and are highly unstable. Free radicals can cause the type of cellular damage that is a big factor in cancer development.
Blueberries are rich in one particular type of flavonoid called anthocyanins. These compounds are water soluble pigments that are red, violet or blue depending on their pH level. Apples and blueberries both get their beautiful colors from anthocyanins.
In plants, anthocyanins act as antioxidants and protect the plant from oxidative damage. In cells, they perform a similar function.
According to Laura Newton M.A.Ed., R.D., an associate professor in the Department of Nutrition Sciences at the UAB and a licensed dietician who often works with cancer patients, many studies suggest that antioxidants like anthocyanins may help prevent the free-radical damage associated with cancer
Hell yeahs, all round I reckon. So, while we already knew about blueberries we now know we can get our anthocyanins from purple corn too! Even more hell yeahs and cries of plant power, please. Anthocyanins, purple corn and blueberries rock!
I can get very excited about this sort of thing. However, there’s nothing too spectacular about it, cut out the crap, eat clean and you’re onto a winner. Especially if you get your anthocyanins and other plant powered good guys.
Cancer protection and plants is controversial
You better believe it. People jump up and down and get mad. But the simple truth is there’s tons of research indicating the anti-cancer properties of all sorts of plants. But is doesn’t stop at cancer either. A quick Google effort will produce plenty of evidence for the efficacy of anthocyanins to promote good health. This effort is suggested on the Detox Your World site as UK law prevents them from writing about the health benefits of the anthocyanins in their purple corn products. Read into that what you will…
You can find some good stuff. There’s a neat little report on the chiro website. The research cited is from 15 years old but still valid. It finishes by saying
Anthocyanins have received less attention than other flavonoids, despite their far-reaching effects. Because berries were such a large part of early diets, our ancestors probably ate far more anthocyanins than we do. Some researchers feel that, by comparison, we are deficient in anthocyanins. When people become aware of the antioxidant power of these compounds, perhaps we can remedy that deficiency
So we should be eating lots of berries. And why not try some purple corn too!
Anthocyanins – get em down ya!