In a recent study published in the American Journal of Physiology, researchers from the Department of Food and Nutrition and Department of Biochemistry at Hallym University in Korea found that a specific class of phytochemicals in purple corn, called anthocyanins, have anti-diabetic properties and may help fight renal disease.
Anthocyanins are flavonoids, which are known to be antioxidants. Antioxidants, in general, have disease-fighting properties. The anthocyanins are the red, purple, and blue pigments that give of many fruits, vegetables, grains and flowers their color.
The high sugar in corn may not make it an ideal natural food for diabetics and pre-diabetics patients. However, the anthocyanins from purple maize may be pursued by scientists as a candidate to be used as a supplement to prevent renal vascular disease in Type 2 Diabetes.
Purple corn originated centuries ago and continues to be grown in Peru and Chile. It is closely related to blue corn, which is commonly grown in the United States. An heirloom variety called Morado Purple Corn (Morado cantena) is available to be purchased as seed and can be grown in any local home garden in Indiana and the Midwest.