Blue corn for big blood pressure and belly fat benefits

Corn is controversial in the natural health world. And for good reason…

A lot of corn is genetically modified (around 88 percent, to be exact). And corn derivatives are one of the most popular fillers in processed junk foods (think high fructose corn syrup, corn starch, xanthan gum, citric acid, dextrose and many, many more).

These versions of corn probably aren’t great for your health. But that doesn’t mean there’s no place for corn on your plate.

If you can get your hands on an organic ear of corn, it’s actually pretty good for you. It’s high in fiber and a good source of vitamin A, vitamin E and vitamin B. It also contains cancer-fighting antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin.

But if you really want to get the most health benefits from your corn, forget the usual yellow or sweet varieties. When it comes to corn, the bluer it is, the better.

Blue corn’s bevvy of benefits

Native Americans in the Hopi and Navajo tribes have celebrated blue corn’s spiritual powers for hundreds and hundreds of years. But, based on a recent study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, it should be celebrated for its health benefits too…

Researchers found that blue corn extract improved the health of rats with metabolic syndrome in several ways…

It improved their systolic blood pressure, HDL (good) cholesterol and triglyceride levels. It also helped them fend off belly fat. And it did all of this while they were still eating an unhealthy, high-sugar diet — the kind of diet that usually causes metabolic syndrome.

As a quick refresher, metabolic syndrome is a serious health condition that puts you at a higher risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes. In order to get diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, you must have three of the following risk factors:

  • A large waistline
  • High triglyceride levels
  • Low HDL (good) cholesterol levels
  • High blood pressure
  • High fasting blood sugar

If you’re in the running for metabolic syndrome, it’s smart to make changes now. And it seems blue corn can really help. And it may help with other health problems too…

Researchers also noted that blue corn contains natural antioxidants called anthocyanins that have been shown to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.

Where to buy blue corn

If you’re ready to experience the health benefits of blue corn, you may come across one problem… it’s not exactly easy to get your hands on. Most grocery stores don’t stock ears of blue corn. But other products are readily available…

Buying blue corn chips, blue corn meal or blue corn tortillas are all easy and convenient options for getting your blue corn fix. If you enjoy getting your hands dirty and you have a little extra space in your yard, you could also buy blue corn seeds and grow your own blue corn. But whatever option you choose, make sure the products and seeds you purchase are organic and GMO-free. That’s best way to get the benefits of corn without any hidden health risks.

Sources:
  1. “Top 7 Genetically Modified Crops.” Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved January 13, 2017.
  2. “Hidden Corn-Based Ingredients.” The Gluten Free Society. https://www.glutenfreesociety.org. Retrieved January 13, 2017.
  3. “Health Benefits Of Corn.” Organic Facts. https://www.organicfacts.net. Retrieved January 13, 2017.
  4. I. Guzmán-Gerónimo, et al. “Blue Maize Extract Improves Blood Pressure, Lipid Profiles, and Adipose Tissue in High-Sucrose Diet-Induced Metabolic Syndrome in Rats.” Journal of Medicinal Food, 2016.
  5. “New study examines the health benefits of blue corn.” MedicalXpress. https://medicalxpress.com. Retrieved January 13, 2017.
  6. “Organic Blue Corn.” Sunny State Products. http://www.sunnystateproducts.com. Retrieved January 13, 2017.

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Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine, TheFix.com, Hybridcars.com and Seedstock.com.