By Elena Sheppard
There is a place in Minnesota where the fields are literally filled with purple corn.
It’s not a joke.
Most of us have grown up eating white and yellow corn (corn on the cob, corn salad, canned corn), but we’re here to talk about purple corn and the surprising nutritional benefits packed within its kernels. Purple corn is more than just beautiful — though images of purple corn fields spreading across Minnesota certainly confirm it’s beauty — it’s actually brimming with more protein, fiber, and antioxidants than yellow corn. Sparknotes: Purple corn is very good for us.
Purple corn, though probably uncommon to most people in North America, is nothing new. South Americans have been using the natural dyes in purple corn for centuries and have been eating and drinking purple corn products for just as long; perhaps most famously in the traditional Peruvian fermented drink chicha morada.
These days, purple corn is no longer specific to Latin American countries, and is indeed becoming more and more popular in the United States, in large part because of the health benefits associated with it.
Research over the last decade or sohas cast a spotlight on just how good for us purple corn really is — many think it is well on its way to becoming a certified superfood. First and foremost, purple corn is rich in anthocyanins, flavonoids that are under the antioxidant umbrella. A study out of Ohio State University compared the effects of anthocyanins from different plants (purple grapes, purple corn, purple carrots) to see which had greater success reducing in vitro cancer growth. The anthocyanins from purple corn had the strongest effect against the cancer cells.
In addition to the anthocyanins, studies have also shown purple corn to be rich in anti-inflammatory capabilities; to potentially be able to help fight obesity; and to help cardiovascular health. Not to mention, purple corn has more protein and fiber than modern yellow corn.
While there are many ways to enjoy purple corn — chips, breads, craft beer — Back to the Roots has a purple corn cereal that’s organic, delicious, and loaded with all of the purple corn benefits. Bring on the purple corn!