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You’ll Be Amazed By The Numerous Benefits Of Purple Corn

You’ll Be Amazed By The Numerous Benefits Of Purple Corn

Purple corn is not well known in the United States, but it has been part of the diet of the Peruvian Andes for millennia. The amazing thing about this plant is that although it is identically, botanically speaking, to yellow corn, it produces corn with kernels of deep purple. And like many deep purple vegetables, such as eggplant, purple corn is incredibly good for your health.

You’ll Load Up On Fiber

Purple corn is a high-fiber food, and this is great news because fiber is good for your digestive system as a whole and helps prevent problems like constipation. It has also been associated with improved heart health and can help to lower high cholesterol.

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You Get A Ton Of Vitamins And Minerals, Too

The typical American diet can be pretty poor in vitamins and minerals, but when you eat purple corn, you’ll be getting a lot of both. It is rich in zinc, copper, manganese, magnesium, and potassium, as well as vitamin B5, B9, and niacin.

You Will Reduce Your Cancer Risk

Special compounds called anthocyanins give purple corn its color. Research has shown that anthocyanins derived from purple corn were able to kill 20% of in vitro (in a test tube) cancer cells and proved to be more effective at this when compared to anthocyanins from other foods, such as elderberries, grapes, and purple carrots.

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You Can Fight Obesity

It is estimated that two thirds of Americans are now overweight or obese — but a diet which includes purple corn can help prevent this. In one study which looked at the health status of rats feed a very high-fat diet, it was found that those who were also given purple corn extract did not suffer from weight gain in the same way as rats fed this diet without the anthocyanins.

You Will Reduce Inflammation Throughout The Body

A study out of the Tokai Gukuen University in Japan looked at the ways in which purple corn extract could help reduce inflammation. The study took place on laboratory mice and it was found that, when given the extract, their levels of cytokines (an important marker for inflammation) were greatly reduced.

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You Will Support Heart Health

The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of purple corn also apparently help to improve cardiac health by reducing the oxidation of fats and lipids that can build up in the arteries and eventually contribute to atherosclerosis and cause heart attacks if left unchecked. In the study on rats mentioned before, the rats fed a high-fat diet as well as the purple corn extract showed not only less oxidation of the fat cells but also a 6% decrease in cholesterol levels.

You Will Improve Your Circulation

Circulation is probably not something you think very much about, but it is incredibly important — and not just for your heart, but for your entire body. Antioxidants in purple corn improve this by stabilizing and protecting the delicate capillaries throughout your body and by prevent abnormal blood clotting.

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You Can Decrease Your Risk Of Developing Diabetes

In the high-fat diet study done on the laboratory mice, scientists were also looking at important markers for diabetes in the mice to see if purple corn extract would have any affect on these markers as well. It did. Mice who were given the extract in addition to their high-fat diet did not have hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), hyperinsulinemia (too much insulin in their systems), or hyperleptinemia (leptin in the blood which is an important marker for diabetes).

You Can Promote Kidney Health

Scientists from Hallym University in Korea found that antioxidant properties in purple corn extract were able to prevent the hardening of the blood vessels in the kidneys, a process called glomerulosclerosis which is often associated with diabetes and which can cause kidney failure if left unchecked.

You Will Improve Your Eye Health

Two more important antioxidants found in purple corn are lutein and zeaxathinin. These antioxidants are used almost exclusively by your eyes and high levels of these antioxidants have been associated with decreased chances of developing serious eye disease like cataracts or macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness.

Purple corn has not — yet — really caught on the in the United States. Even so, it is still carried by health food stores, which will also sometimes sell the extract as well. It may be hard to find, but the effort it well worth it because of the many health benefits it conveys!

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Brian Wu

Health Writer, Author

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Last Updated on October 23, 2018

Science Says Knitting Makes Humans Warmer And Happier, Mentally

Science Says Knitting Makes Humans Warmer And Happier, Mentally

My mother was a great knitter and produced some wonderful garments such as Aran sweaters which were extremely fashionable when I was young. She also knitted while my father drove, which caused great amusement. I often wondered why she did that but I think I know the answer now.

Knitting is good for your mental health, according to some research studies. The Washington Post mentions a 2013 survey of about 3,500 knitters who were asked how they felt after a knitting session. Over 80% of them said they definitely felt happier. It is not a totally female occupation as more and more men take it up to get the same benefits. Harry Styles (One Direction) enjoys knitting. So does Russell Crowe although he does it to help him with anger management!

The Neural Knitwork Project

In Australia, Neural Knitworks was started to encourage people to knit and also become aware of neuroscience and mental health issues. Knit-ins were organized but garments were not the only things created. The knitters produced handmade neurons (1,665 of them!) to make a giant brain. The 2015 project will make more neural knitted networks (neural knitworks) and they will be visible online. You can see some more examples of woolly neurons on the Neural Knitworks Facebook page.

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While people knitted, crocheted and crafted yarn, they listened to experts talking about mental health issues such as addiction, dementia, depression, and how neurons work.

The knitting and neural connection

The human brain has about 80 billion neurons. Learning new skills, social interaction, and physical activity all help to forge neural connections which keep the brain healthy and active. They are creating networks to control movement and make memories. The knitters learn that as they create the woollen neurons, their own neurons are forming new pathways in their brains. Their creations are mimicking the processes in their brains to a certain extent. At the same time, their brains are registering new and interesting information as they learn interesting facts about the brain and how it works. I love the knitworks and networks pun. What a brilliant idea!

More mental health benefits from knitting

Betsan Corkhill is a physiotherapist and has published some results of completed studies on her website, appropriately named Stitchlinks. She conducted some experiments herself and found that knitting was really helpful in reducing panic and anxiety attacks.

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“You are using up an awful lot of brain capacity to perform a coordinated series of movements. The more capacity you take up by being involved in a complex task, the less capacity you have for bad thoughts.”- Betsan Corkhill

Knitters feel happier and in a better mood

Ann Futterman-Collier, Well Being Lab at Northern Arizona University, is very interested in how textile therapy (sewing, knitting, weaving and lace-making) can play an important role in mood repair and in lifting depressive states.

She researched 60 women and divided them into three different groups to do some writing, meditating and work with textiles. She monitored their heartbeat, blood pressure and saliva production. The women in the textiles group had the best results when their mood was assessed afterwards. They were in a better mood and had managed to reduce their negative thoughts better than those in the writing and meditation groups.

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“People who were given the task to make something actually had less of an inflammatory response in the face of a ‘stressor’.” – Dr. Futterman Collier

The dopamine effect on our happiness

Our brains produce a chemical called dopamine. This helps us to feel happy, more motivated, and assists also with focus and concentration. We get a boost of dopamine after sex, food, exercise, sleep, and creative activities.

There are medications to increase dopamine but there are lots of ways we can do it naturally. Textile therapy and crafting are the easiest and cheapest. We can create something and then admire it. In addition, this allows for a little bit of praise and congratulations. Although this is likely not your goal, all these can boost our dopamine and we just feel happier and more fulfilled. These are essential in facing new challenges and coping with disappointment in life.

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“Sometimes, people come up to me when I am knitting and they say things like, “Oh, I wish I could knit, but I’m just not the kind of person who can sit and waste time like that.” How can knitting be wasting time? First, I never just knit; I knit and think, knit and listen, knit and watch. Second, you aren’t wasting time if you get a useful or beautiful object at the end of it.” – Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, At Knit’s End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much.

If you thought knitting and textiles were for old ladies, think again!

Featured photo credit: DSC_0012/Mary-Frances Main via flickr.com

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