Peru is known for being an important repository of highly nutritional foods. Not least among them is purple corn, a product of the Peruvian Andes that is considered a powerful natural antioxidant. It is now in high demand around the globe, positioning our country as one of the main growers and exporters of this ancient purple grain.
The crop is unique among Peruvian grains because it is rich in anthocyanin, a powerful natural antioxidant that can prevent or slow the oxidation of molecules, which helps tissue regenerate and skin stay youthful, and wards off degenerative eye conditions and cardiovascular diseases by eliminating cholesterol and improving circulation.
Anthocyanins – the purple or bluish vegetable plant pigments found in the kernels and cobs of purple corn – help prevent cataracts, glaucoma and conjunctivitis. These compounds also have hemostatic properties because they help staunch blood flow and stop nosebleeds.
An ally in the fight against illnesses
Because of its medicinal qualities, purple corn is considered a natural aide against various ailments. Its macro-nutrients – 11% protein, 3.3% oil and 80% starch – produce energy the body needs, thus strengthening the immune system. This Andean grain also contains phosphorus, iron, vitamin A, riboflavin, niacin, ascorbic acid and anthocyanins. These micro-nutrients help keep the body healthy and so keep obesity, diabetes and arthritis at bay.
Eating purple corn stimulates collagen growth, regulates blood pressure, cleanses the body of toxins, reduces inflammation and lowers the risk of cancer. However, large quantities of the food are not recommended for pregnant women because it could affect the pregnancy.
A kernel from Peru that astonishes the world
This ancient crop has found eager buyers on the international market, especially in countries like the United States, Ecuador, Spain, Italy and Japan, among others. The high demand reflects its many natural properties and has turned Peru into one of the world’s leading growers and exporters.
Progress is being made towards improving the yields, processing and trade of this Andean grain to achieve a better and larger supply for export to satiate the international market’s appetite for the product.
A culinary treasure
Peru’s cuisine, shaped by a long history of culinary fusion through cultural exchange, is without question held to be among the world’s finest. Its magic lies in appreciating the value of and bringing together natural products and making them into true delicacies relished around the globe. A case in point is purple corn, an ingredient used in the exquisite mazamorra morada, a Peruvian dessert made from this ingredient served with apples and quince. This traditional sweet is prepared during the month of the Lord of Miracles feast.
Peruvians have managed to impress even the most discriminating palettes with the purple corn beverage chicha morada and have also invented pisco-based cocktails called chicha sour, among others.
Purple corn continues to surprise the world with its many medicinal uses and its use by chefs alike. More and more people have access to this natural product and can benefit from its virtues.