USDA: Purple corn could help battle obesity, diabetes

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From left: Elvira de Mejia, professor of food science; Diego Luna-Vital, visiting scholar; and Jack Juvik, professor of crop sciences - holding corn varieties that have anti-inflammatory, anti-obesogenic, anti-diabetic properties.

Purple corn is more than tasty and eye-catching. Scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a game-changing element of purple corn – it may help reduce the risk of major health diseases.

[T]he researchers found some with elevated levels of a naturally occurring chemical that may fight obesity, inflammation, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain types of cancer. They also found that the outer layer of kernels might be used as natural food coloring.

The research team …. created 20 varieties of the Apache Red maize strain, each with a different amount and type of anthocyanins, the element that gives the maize its distinct color.

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In one finding, the scientists tested purple corn’s phenolic compounds against insulin resistance. They induced insulin resistance in the mouse fat cells, treated the cells with the anthocyanin compounds, and monitored the glucose uptake. They found that insulin resistance decreased by 29-64 percent ….

Read full, original article: Purple Corn Offers Benefits Inside and Out

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