Eating blue corn may decrease the risk factor from metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer, said a new study.
The research undertaken by an Indian origin scientist and his team from the University of Central Florida in collaboration with researchers from Universidad Veracruzana and Instituto Tecnologico de Veracruz in Mexico, found in their study of rats the blue corn has antioxidant ingredients.
In a study, the researchers fed rats a high-sugar and high-cholesterol diet and given blue maize extract and they showed significant improvement in systolic blood pressure, high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, and triglyceride levels compared to those not fed the same.
The natural antioxidants present in blue maize may become an important ingredeint in functional foods and nutraceuticals, with potential to increase protection against hypertension and diabetes, said researchers in their study.
Researchers also found that the rats had no significant increase in their abdominal fat after fed with these blue maize corn, which may be useful in anti-obeisty food components.
“Anti-obesity food materials are always in demand, and this study brings out not only the importance of blue maize in controlling adipocity, but also the potential role of cholesterol in the development of obesity,” said Sampath Parthasarathy, from the University of Central Florida in the US.
Dr. Parthasarathy, who has studied the role of oxidative stress in the development of cardiovascular diseases and associated risk factors including Type 2 diabetes, proposed several years ago the oxidative theory of atherosclerosis, which has gained considerable acceptance, and as a result a substantial population consumes antioxidant vitamins.
The findings were published in the Journal of Medicinal Food.
Blue corn has several nutritional advantages over standard yellow or white corn varieties and it contains 20 percent more protein and has a lower glycemic index than white corn, according to studies.
Blue corn is mostly associated with the Hopi culture, which associates the ears of six colors of corn with the solstitial directions, plus the above and the below. Blue corn is associated with the direction of winter solstice sunset in the southwest and it is used in naming ceremonies.
Legend goes that Hopi men ate blue corn before undertaking long journeys believing that blue corn gives them great strength.It is also a staple food of New Mexican cuisine.