Benefits of Purple Corn


Purple corn (Zea may L.), also known as purple maize, is a crop native to the Andes regions of
Peru and has been widely cultivated and consumed throughout the Andean region of South
America, mainly Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia and Argentina. It has one of the deepest purple shades
among the plant kingdom. Due to its richness in purple pigments, the purple corn extract has
long been used in coloring homemade dessert and beverage in its original places: chicha morada
and mazamorra morada are some of the most popular drinks and desserts prepared from purple
corn (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations 2013). In South America, purple
corn pigments have long been used to color foods and beverages.
The bioactive compounds in purple corn (Zea may L.), mainly anthocyanins and other phenolics,
have been shown in numerous studies to have potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic,
anti-carcinogenic, anti-cancer, anti- angiogenesis properties and capable to
ameliorate lifestyle diseases such as obesity, diabetes, hyperglycemia, hypertension and
cardiovascular diseases. These beneficial properties are in large proportions attributed to the
strong antioxidant power of the purple corn phenolics which are involved in biochemical
regulation amelioration, as well as to their anti-inflammatory properties. Although more research
is needed, the promising data suggests applying purple corn as functional food and dietary
supplement may have great benefits to human health.