(Natural News) Metabolic syndrome is a serious and dangerous health issue. A particular study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food discusses how the extract of blue maize, a variety of corn grown in Mexico and the Southwestern United States, can help attenuate the condition’s symptoms.
A person with metabolic syndrome suffers from several metabolic disorders at the same time. Metabolic syndrome is usually a combination of obesity, hypertension, and diabetes. These health conditions are dangerous by themselves – collectively, they increase one’s risk of dying prematurely either through coronary heart disease or a stroke.
Proper management is key to living with the condition. Although regular exercise and changes to one’s diet are a great help, these steps may not be enough. Some people may require supplements to manage their symptoms. However, owing to the sheer precariousness of metabolic syndrome, just about any supplement won’t do. A lot of studies are, therefore, focused on finding natural means to attenuate its symptoms.
Plants that have been traditionally used as a medicinal treatment for one of the symptoms of metabolic syndrome or those that have been established in previous research to have beneficial effects are a popular subject for researchers. Some of the inquiries on blue maize’s anti-diabetic effects have been promising so far, so its potential as a treatment for metabolic syndrome is quite considerable.
For the study, the researchers fed rats with either a high-sucrose diet or a high-cholesterol-high-sucrose diet for 12 weeks. These diets increased the animals’ systolic blood pressure, serum triglycerides, and abdominal adipose tissue while decreasing their high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels.
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Over the course of four weeks, the researchers administered blue maize extract to the animals. They noted that this treatment caused an increase in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels while decreasing systolic blood pressure, serum triglycerides, total cholesterol, and epididymal adipose tissue weight.
Because of these findings, they concluded that blue maize may be a promising nutritional treatment for metabolic syndrome.
What are the other health benefits of blue maize?
At the end of the day, blue maize is just regular corn. It does, however, have a much higher anthocyanin content than yellow corn. This is the plant pigment that gives it – and purple corn – its characteristic deep blue color. Blue maize is known for a number of health benefits, including:
- It is rich in antioxidants – Anthocyanins are a powerful antioxidant. Their presence in blue maize makes this particular variety three times richer in antioxidants than regular yellow corn. Purple corn, with its even deeper color, has so much more – about 14 times that of yellow corn. When raw, blue corn has about two-thirds the antioxidant value of blueberries, some of the most nutritious fruits around.
- It protects the cells – Antioxidants protect the cells from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. This way, they can help prevent premature aging in skin cells. The cellular protection provided by antioxidants is also being investigated for its potential against cancer. In fact, some studies have found blue corn to be an effective cancer treatment in rats.
- It protects from inflammation – Chronic inflammation is dangerous, being linked to diseases like cancer, cardiovascular conditions, and depression. The antioxidants in blue maize are also anti-inflammatory, with some studies indicating benefits against inflammation in the liver and kidneys.
- It does not harm friendly bacteria – Foods high in antioxidants usually have strong antibacterial properties, too. Although this may improve one’s immunity from bacterial pathogens, it may also harm the bacteria in the gut. Probiotics, as these microorganisms are called, are essential to proper digestion and for the protection they offer against certain diseases. Despite their high antioxidant content, blue corn and purple corn were found to be harmless to gut bacteria.
- It lowers blood pressure – Hypertension increases one’s risk of dying from a heart attack. Studies have shown that blue corn can help control blood pressure levels and keep them normal.
- It promotes weight loss – Some research has found that the antioxidants in blue corn influence the expression of genes that promote lower body fat.
Learn about the other benefits of blue corn by going to Veggie.news.