Updated: Sep 8, 2020
Blue corn is not as common as other types or varieties of corn, few people actually know about it. It is widely consumed in Mexico where it's a very popular crop, present in many of the most popular dishes, the result of ancient traditions that have not changed over the centuries. In this article, we will discuss the many properties and benefits it brings to our health as well as its uses and origins.
Why is Blue Corn Blue?
Corn acquires its bluish hue thanks to a group of pigments called anthocyanins. This pigments belong to the group of bioflavonoids, a wide family of phytochemicals known as flavonoids, of which some 4,000 have been identified to date. Anthocyanins are believed to be the most powerful Antioxidants out of 150 different flavonoids. They are natural colorants that can be found in; Leaves, flowers, fruits and seeds. They mainly comprise red, violet and blue colors and protect them from ultraviolet light. The color of anthocyanins varies depending on the pH and its structure.
Is Blue Corn Edible?
Blue corn is known mainly for the amount of products that are extracted from it, all with high nutritional values and highly recommended for good health.
Blue corn flour
One of the main products derived from blue corn is flour. This type of flour can be used in many recipes such as for the famous tortilla.
Blue corn tortillas
Blue tortillas are a derivative of blue corn, they can be obtained from a Nixtamalization process or from blue corn flour. Its flavor is much more intense than white corn tortillas.
As for their nutritional value and compared to the tortillas obtained from white corn, they have many more antioxidants and fewer calories. With blue tortillas we can prepare countless recipes, all delicious and antioxidant. Furthermore, given its benefits and properties, they would be present when we eat blue corn tortillas, being very good for people with diabetes or circulatory problems.
Blue corn Atole
Blue corn atole is a drink that is taken hot, it is prepared from the powder of blue corn. In countries like Mexico it is a typical food that is part of their culture, in addition to being very popular.
Difference between Blue Corn and Yellow/White Corn
Blue corn is not only one of the most exotic corn varieties, but it also has antioxidant properties, very similar to those seen in the purple corn type. This is mainly because they have a large amount of anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are the pigments that makes this type of corn have a blue color and have antioxidant.
According to studies and comparisons with other more consumed and produced types of corn, such as white corn or yellow corn, it is concluded that blue corn has much less starch than other types of corn, which makes its glycemic index be inferior to the type of white corn, this brings benefits mainly to people with diabetes.
Where is blue corn grown?
Blue corn is native to the Oaxaca region, specifically from the Chalcatongo de Hidalgo community, this crop was harvested by indigenous people. It is harvested primarily in Mexico, and in few parts of the southwestern United States such as New Mexico and Arizona. During the last years, Mexico produced around 27 million tons of corn annually, of which 91.5% corresponds to white grain corn, 8% to yellow and the rest to other colors, of which blue grain corn is the more important.
Is Blue Corn Healthier?
Blue corn contains a large amount of nutrients. It has been demonstrated that it has more nutritional content than white and yellow corn.
It also offers some very interesting characteristics: less starch, a lower glycemic index than normal corn (good for diabetics), in addition, another aspect to note is that the protein load it contributes to our body is 20% higher compared to white corn.
The consumption of blue corn also helps to reduce blood cholesterol and therefore the problems that result from the excess of harmful fats.
BLUE CORN HELPS PREVENT CANCER
Anthocyanins and their antioxidant effect present in blue corn are very important in preventing diseases as malignant as cancer, since they prevent the spread of cancer cells throughout the rest of the body through their active blocking action.
Anthocyanins could significantly modulate the tumor suppressor gene p53, which reduces the likelihood that a cell will become carcinogenic. In addition, there are studies that show that it lowers cholesterol levels, improves visual acuity, and has even reported antimutagenic and antiproliferative activity in cancer cells.
These and more are the main benefits of including blue corn in your diet. Hopefully, its cultivation would spread and become more common in the markets, in order to consume them more frequently.
WHAT AMOUNT OF BLUE CORN SHOULD YOU EAT?
Given the proven benefits, many will wonder, how much of this corn to eat. The advisable thing would be 6 to 8 tortillas as the daily recommended dose. In addition to antioxidants, this type of corn contains vitamin A, niacin and thiamine, which are important for better health.
Blue corn also serves as an anti-inflammatory, against tissue degeneration and is very beneficial for blood circulation and for people with heart problems. Research comparing blue corn to blueberries of the same color showed that it has 4 times more anthocyanins than blueberry.