Thursday, July 1, 2010

Chicha Morada: Discover the Benefits for you Health

For Peruvians "Chicha morada" is a very well known soft drink, prepared by boiling water with purple corn, fruits, cinnamon, cloves and finally, sweetened with sugar and lime juice. In Peru , the Purple Corn has been used per centuries. Purple corn is fast approaching classification as a functional food an integral component of the diet that provides energy and essential nutrients.

Researchers in the fields of food and nutrition are intensely searching for functional foods in almost every corner of the world and from a diversity of plants. Purple corn (frequently referred to as blue corn) is botanically the same species as regular table corn. Yet by a twist of nature, this corn produces kernels with one of the deepest shades of purple found anywhere in the world.

Research has shown that purple corn contains cell-protecting antioxidants with the ability to inhibit carcinogen-induced tumors in rats. Many plant-derived substances are believed to show these properties, but few have also demonstrated anti-inflammatory capabilities and the potential to help prevent obesity.
he kernels of purple corn ( maiz morado in Spanish) have long been used by the people of the Peruvian Andes to color foods and beverages, a practice just beginning to become popularized in the industrialized world.

Rich in Anthocyanins

Anthocyanins are responsible for the purple, violet, and red colors attending many plants. Anthocyanins belong to an even larger class of plant chemicals known as flavonoids and are found in diverse plants, including many food plants.
esearchers at the Horticultural Sciences Department of Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, recently determined that the mean anthocyanin content of whole, fresh purple corn from Peru was 16.4 mg/g, which was much higher than fresh blueberries (1.3-3.8 mg/g).

Powerful Antioxidant

Digging deeper, the most abundant anthocyanin found in purple corn, called "C3G" (3- O -? -D-glucoside 6,7 ), has been keeping researchers very busy lately. In a number of tests designed to assess the potential health benefits of this anthocyanin, one study after another has proven its antioxidant strength.

Other health benefits:

a. Promotes tissue regeneration/healing
b. Prevents cardiovascular disease
c. Delays/slows degenerative processes
d. Has an anti-aging effect on the skin
e. Increases blood flow
f. Has a diuretic effect

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