This article originally appeared on Live in the Now.
Scientists have discovered the superfood purple corn may protect against kidney disease caused by diabetes. This is the latest addition to the body of research that shows this food has health benefits, which include fighting obesity, as well as cutting the risk of diabetes and certain cancers.
A native plant of Peru and Chili, purple corn is related to blue corn, which is widely available in our country. The corn’s purple color is produced by its high content of anthocyanins, also called flavonoids, compounds responsible for most of its health benefits.
An estimated 18 million people in America have been diagnosed with diabetes. One of the most serious complications of the disease is diabetic nephropathy (DN), as it often leads to end-stage kidney disease.
In a study published in the American Journal of Physiology – Renal Physiology, researchers investigated the properties of purple corn anthocyanins (PCA) to ascertain if and how they can inhibit DN. The scientists at Hallym University in Korea found that PCA appears to deter the development of DN through multiple physiological pathways. This healthful food not only decreased adhesions of cells within the kidneys but also reduced inflammation, which plays a contributory role in the onset and progression of the disease. These positive findings led scientists to conclude that PCA supplementation might be an important means of preventing kidney damage associated with type-2 diabetes.
Prior Studies Reveal Other Health Benefits of Purple Corn
In an earlier study in Japan, scientists tested the ability of PCA to prevent cancer. The promising results showed it reduced the incidence of colorectal cancer in rats significantly. Authors of the study characterized the anti-cancer effect as “pronounced inhibition.”
A 2003 study in Japan evaluated the effects of PCA on mice that were fed a high fat diet. The magnitude of the findings led the researchers to conclude that PCA “may have important implications for preventing obesity and diabetes.”
Scientists in the field of nutrition from various parts of the globe are investigating foods that may have disease-prevention properties. Based on the current study, as well as earlier research, purple corn is showing great promise in this area. For now, a reasonable take-away would be that incorporating purple corn in the diet can be beneficial for health, particularly for those diagnosed with diabetes.