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Purple Corn or Maiz Morado: Health Benefits

Updated on February 27, 2014
vespawoolf profile image

Vespa's recipes have appeared in "Midwest Living" & "Taste of Home" magazines. She belongs to "Cook's Recipe Testers" for Cooks Illustrated.


Prevent Diabetes, Hypertension and Obesity with Purple Corn

During our fifteen years living in Peru we’ve heard Peruvians boast about their unique strain of purple corn. It’s said to lower blood pressure so effectively that it’s contraindicated for hypotensive persons.

Purple corn is used in many Peruvian recipes, the most common being chicha morada or purple corn drink. It is sold in fine restaurants and even on the street, where it is ladled into a plastic bag and slurped with a drinking straw.

Table of Contents:

  • More Health Benefits of Purple Corn

  • Research on Purple Corn

  • Where Can You Find Purple Corn?

  • Recipe: Purple Corn Extract

More Health Benefits of Purple Corn

Recently, we found information from scientific studies that confirm the truth of this age-old Peruvian wisdom. And not only does purple corn lower blood pressure, it also offers multiple health benefits not limited to the following*:

purple corn
purple corn | Source
  • Powerful antioxidant action
  • Cancer-fighting properties
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Regulates the function of fat cells, preventing accumulation of fat and controlling obesity
  • Regulates insulin, preventing diabetes
  • Encourages regeneration of connective tissue and formation of collagen
  • Protects cells from damage by free radicals
  • Reduces cholesterol levels
  • Detoxifies
  • Slows aging process

What makes purple corn such amazing ally to human health? Purple corn owes its intense purple pigment to the phytochemical anthocyanin, one of many plant chemicals known as flavonoids. More specifically, purple corn’s main colorant comes from the plant chemical cianidin-3-b-glucosa. And purple corn’s anthocyanins are stable when heated.

This article focuses on just a few of these health benefits: prevention of diabetes, hypertension and obesity. If you’d like to learn how to make chicha morada, Peru's purple corn drink, please click here: Chicha Morada: Peruvian Purple Corn Drink That Lowers Blood Pressure. You can also read a great article by Rajan Jolly about the benefits of any variety of corn by clicking here: Nutritional & Health Benefits of Corn or Maize.

Research on Purple Corn

To site just one study: Japanese researchers fed two groups of mice a high fat diet for 12 weeks. This diet caused hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia and hyperleptinemia in the control group. However, the group of mice fed purple corn extract didn’t gain weight nor did they have elevated levels of insulin, glucose or fat in their blood.1 These findings, as well as numerous other test studies performed in recent years, show that purple corn may prevent obesity and diabetes.

Regarding hypertension, we would like to mention a personal experience. A dear friend who suffers from hypertension began taking prescription medicine to reduce his blood pressure. Then he heard about the benefits of purple corn. He started a regimen of adding purple corn to his diet, taking 500 mg of purple corn extract 3 times daily before meals. The results? His blood pressure has decreased and he was able to stop taking the prescription medicine for hypertension. He owes his miraculous recovery to purple corn extract.* For that reason, nutritionists in Peru often prescribe purple corn to hypertensive patients.

Where Can You Find Purple Corn?

Purple corn is grown from low coastal valleys to the high Andes mountains of Peru. All varieties of purple corn originated from the line Zea Mays L. and are still cultivated in Peru. This line of corn is so old that ceramics in the shape of ears of corn have been unearthed in archaeological sites at least 2,500 years old. Purple corn was prized by Inca royalty.

Fortunately, Amazon offers purple corn on the cob, purple corn kernels, purple corn powder and even purple corn extract. Include some form of purple corn in your daily diet to see results.


1. Tsuda T, Horio F, Uchida K, Aoki H, Osawa T. Dietary cyanidin 3-O-?-D-glucoside-rich purple corn color prevents obesity and ameliorates hyperglycemia in mice. J Nutr. 2003;133(7):2125-2130.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Purple Corn Kernels
Purple Corn Kernels | Source
4.7 stars from 3 ratings of Purple Corn Extract

Purple Corn Extract

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 40 min
Ready in: 50 min
Yields: 3 1/2 quarts of purple corn extract

Purple corn extract has mild flavor and can be added to smoothies, baked goods, soups, etc. for nutritional benefits and beautiful purple color. Freeze extract in ice cube trays and store in freezer bags until ready to use.


  • 4 quarts water
  • 1 pound purple corn cobs
Remove dried kernels from cobs
Remove dried kernels from cobs


  1. Pour 4 quarts of water into a large stock pot. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  2. Remove dried corn from cobs. Reserve kernels for other use. Rinse cobs thoroughly in clean water.
  3. Toss purple corn cobs into boiling water. Reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes, until water turns deep purple.
  4. Strain and use as directed.


Submit a Comment
  • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR


    5 years ago from Peru, South America

    GetitScene, maybe a local farmer has grown a crop of purple corn. You never know--sometimes you can find it in North America. Thanks for the comment and votes!

  • GetitScene profile image

    Dale Anderson 

    5 years ago from The High Seas

    My wife and I eat corn all the time but I rarely see purple corn, I'll have to keep an eye out for it. Voted up, useful and interesting. Good information here.

  • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR


    5 years ago from Peru, South America

    Moonlake, purple corn is unique to Peru. North America has blue corn which is also uniquely its own. I'm glad you enjoyed this information. Thanks for coming by.

  • moonlake profile image


    5 years ago from America

    Purple corn sounds good and looks good. Thanks for all the information on it. Voted up.

  • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR


    5 years ago from Peru, South America

    RTalloni, I'm glad you enjoyed reading about this unique purple corn from Peru. We have blue corn in North America, although the compounds that create the color are a little different. Thanks for coming by!

  • RTalloni profile image


    5 years ago from the short journey

    Learning about the benefits of foods from other lands is so interesting, these that you highlight from Peru being no exception. Thanks for posting this information and recipe.

  • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR


    5 years ago from Peru, South America

    Deborah-Diane, blue corn is actually different from purple corn, although they both contain the same compound that gives them their beautiful color. And yes, the blue corn chips are more wholesome than just yellow or white. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment!

  • Deborah-Diane profile image


    5 years ago from Orange County, California

    I like purple corn, but I had no idea that it had so many health benefits. I have even heard that corn chips made from purple corn (often called blue corn chips) are much more wholesome than other types of corn chips. Thanks for you interesting article.

  • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR


    5 years ago from Peru, South America

    vertualit, thank you for coming by and leaving a comment!

  • vertualit profile image

    Abdus Salam 

    5 years ago from Bangladesh

    wow, its amazing...i never thought that about purple corn before. Thanks for publishing this hub. thanks so much.

  • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR


    5 years ago from Peru, South America

    JustAskSusan, you might just be able to find it as many farmers like to try exotic crops. Many Peruvians swear by it to lower blood pressure, among other things. Thank you for your comment!

  • Just Ask Susan profile image

    Susan Zutautas 

    5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

    I'll have to see if I can find purple corn at my local farmers market this fall. I never knew how good it was for you.

  • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR


    5 years ago from Peru, South America

    Alocsin, I'm glad you've tried the purple corn chips. We love the color and often make corn tortillas with the purple corn. Thanks for dropping by!

  • alocsin profile image

    Aurelio Locsin 

    5 years ago from Orange County, CA

    I've had purple corn chips but not purple corn on the cob. I'll need to check out Amazon's offerings to try it out. Voting this Up and Useful.

  • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR


    5 years ago from Peru, South America

    Aufait, purple corn seeds have been exported to other parts of the world and I've read about farmers who grow purple corn in the States, so it's very possible what you saw was from the Zea Mays L. line of corn cultivated in the Andes. I hope you can get some next time! Thanks so much for the vote and comment.

  • Au fait profile image

    C E Clark 

    5 years ago from North Texas

    Very interesting. I've seen ornamental corn that came in many colors including purple. It was also edible. I wonder if it's the same thing or must it be specifically Peruvian purple corn? Voted up and interesting!

  • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from Peru, South America

    Tammyswallow, purple popcorn! What a good idea! I'll have to see if that works--thanks for your kind words. : )

  • tammyswallow profile image


    6 years ago from North Carolina

    I don't think I have ever seen this before. It looks beautiful. It would make some very pretty popcorn. I always learn something when I visit. Great hub and congratulations on your 100 score!

  • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from Peru, South America

    Suzanne, it's amazing how quickly purple corn lowers blood pressure in some people. Of course, everyone's body is different but it's definitely worth a try. Purple corn has no side effects! Thanks as always for all your support.

  • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from Peru, South America

    Eiddwen, I'm glad you found this information on purple corn interesting! I hope you have a good day, too.

  • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from Peru, South America

    prasetio, purple corn isn't well known outside of Peru and nearby countries, but it's very popular here in its many forms. Many nutritionists prescribe purple corn for hypertensive patients. Thanks for the vote!

  • Suzie HQ profile image

    Suzanne Ridgeway 

    6 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

    Hi Vespa,

    I find this purple corn so interesting from your previous hub. The health benefits are incredible and makes me really keen to try it. I was diagnosed with high BP a year ago so more interested in foods that help this naturally now. great job, my friend voted up, interesting, useful, sharing and pinning.

  • Eiddwen profile image


    6 years ago from Wales

    So very interesting and useful.

    Enjoy your day.


  • prasetio30 profile image


    6 years ago from malang-indonesia

    Wow.....amazing. I had never heard about purple corn. I learn something new here and the health benefits of Maiz Morado. Thanks for writing and share with us. Voted up!


  • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from Peru, South America

    DDE, I'm glad you enjoyed the information on maiz morado and the tips. Thanks!

  • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from Peru, South America

    Deborah-Diane, they always say the more color a veggie or fruit has, the healthier it is. Thanks for your comment!

  • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from Peru, South America

    PeggyW, purple corn is common here in Peru and touted for its health benefits. I'm glad you enjoyed reading about it. Thanks for the votes and share!

  • DDE profile image

    Devika Primić 

    6 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

    Interesting and so different information on the Health Benefits of Purple Corn or Maiz Morado . You mentioned such useful tips here.

  • Deborah-Diane profile image


    6 years ago from Orange County, California

    I never realized the purple corn was healthier than other varieties. Very interesting!

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 

    6 years ago from Houston, Texas

    I don't think that I have ever seen purple corn but good to learn about its health benefits. They always say that the more color a vegetable has, the more health benefits. Up, useful and interesting votes and will share.

  • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from Peru, South America

    Carol, I'm glad you enjoyed reading about purple corn. It's another "super food" which benefits our health in so many ways. Thanks as always for your support!

  • carol7777 profile image

    carol stanley 

    6 years ago from Arizona

    Purple corn.. SOunds pretty cool...and I like the health benefits. I have used purple potatoes.. This is a great hub and I love all the information as I am a health searcher. Voting up and pinning.


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