Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits of Corn

Corn, also known as maize, is a cereal grain. It has a lot of sugar and starch. It was first cultivated by indigenous peoples in southern Mexico about 10,000 years ago. People consider corn as vegetable, but it is actually a grain. It contains a high amount of fiber, vitamins and minerals. It is a starchy vegetable having kernels on a cob, covered by a husk. Corn is typically yellow but comes in a variety of other colors as well. Those are red, orange, blue, purple, white, and black. People mainly use corns as fuel and animal feed. 30-40% of the corn grown is used for fuel, and 60–70% of corn feeds animals worldwide.

Sweetcorn is a very famous food where you eat off the cob. Your favorite snack during a movie, popcorns are a variety of corn made from the dry seeds. Corn is high in fiber, which helps to stay full for longer between the meals. It also feeds healthy bacteria in our digestive tract that protects us from colon cancer. It also prevents diverticulitis, a condition causing pouches in the walls of the colon. People who eat more popcorn have a lower risk of getting diverticular disease. It contains an enormous amount of vitamin C. It helps to protect our cells from damage. Thus lowering the risk of cancer and heart disease. Yellow corns contain carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. They are good for eye health as well. It contains a decent amount of phosphorus that plays an important role in the growth and maintenance of body tissues. 

Must-Known Facts about Corn:

●     It is rich in fibers, so it helps in digestion.

●     It is an excellent source of antioxidant carotenoids, like lutein and zeaxanthin in yellow corn are good for eye heath.

●     Corn contains Vitamin B12, folic acid and iron, which reduces the risk of anemia.

●     One cup of corn contains 29 grams of carbohydrates, which provides energy proper functioning of the nervous system.

●     Sweet corn and corn oil increases blood flow and regulates insulin, which lowers blood sugar

●     Helps to gain weight. 

Top 10 Health Benefits of Corn: 

Corn is a highly nutritious and extremely healthy vegetable that comes with a load of health benefits. Here are some must-known facts about it: –

  • Lowers Blood Sugar level: Corn increases the blood flow, which regulates insulin, making it an excellent choice for diabetic patients.
  • Lowers cholesterol level: Corn is highly rich in Vitamin B1, Vitamin B5, and Vitamin C, which helps to fight diseases and generate new cells. It is high in fiber which helps to lower cholesterol levels in the body by reducing blood sugar levels.
  • Improves skin health: Corn contains Vitamin C and lycopene. These increase the production of collagen and prevent UV generated free radicals to enter the skin. Thus it prevents skin damage. You can also apply corn oil or corn starch on the skin. They are an important ingredient in many cosmetic products as well.
  • For weight gain: Corn is a healthy addition to your meals if you want to gain some weight. Corn not only contains healthy calories but also has vast amounts of vitamins and good quality fibers. But eating junk and unhealthy food may lead you to other health problems. So, by eating corn you can gain weight in a healthy way.
  • Growth of body tissues: Corn contains a decent amount of phosphorus which helps to increase growth and maintenance of body tissues.
  • Enhances energy: One cup of corn contains almost 29 grams of carbs. This not only enhances energy but ensures proper functioning of the nervous system and the brain. 
  • Maintaining Eye health: Corn contains carotenoids like zeaxanthin and lutein, which boosts eye health. High levels of these carotenoids in your blood reduces risk of macular degeneration and cataracts. Research shown that those who had the highest intake of carotenoids had a lower chance of developing Eye problems.
  • Helps in digestion: It is high in fiber. Dietary fiber intake lowers the risk of heart diseases and some cancers. It also promotes healthy digestion and protects you against gut problems. It protects you against digestive issues like diverticular disease. Based on a survey, it’s found that about 45,000 adult men eating popcorn had a lower risk of diverticular disease. 
  • Provides minerals in body: Corn contains a large amount of minerals essential for our body. They help to fight diseases and improve the immunity system of the body. Corns are rich in minerals like Fe, Zn, Cu, Mn, Mg, and P. Minerals play a significant role in boosting the growth of our body.
  • During pregnancy: Eating corn during pregnancy has some extraordinary health benefits: They provide Relief from constipation and improves the digestion. Corns Reduces the risk of neonatal defects. They also improve baby’s eye health and memory. It reduces the risk of cancer for both mother and the baby. Corns are important for muscle and nervous system functioning of the baby.

 Nutrition facts of a Corn (100gm):

●     Total calories: 96 calories

●     Water: 73%

●     Fiber: 2.4 grams

●     Protein: 3.28 grams

●     Fat:  1.5 grams

●     Carbohydrate: 21 grams

●     Energy: 86 (kcal)

●     Thiamine (vitamin B1): 0.155 milligrams

●     Riboflavin (vitamin B2): 0.055 milligrams 

●     Vitamin B6: 0.093 milligrams 

●     Niacin (vitamin B3): 1.77 milligrams 

●     Folate:  42 micrograms 

●     Vitamin C: 6.8 milligrams 

●     Iron: 0.52 milligrams 

●     Magnesium: 37 milligrams 

●     Manganese: 0.163 milligrams 

●     Phosphorus: 0.52 milligrams 

Different types of Corns: 

There are six types of corn. Some prominent types are-

  1. Dent corn: Dent corn, known as field corn, has a high starch and a low sugar content. People don’t eat dent corn, rather they harvest it in its mature stage when the kernels are dry. Dent corn is used to make moonshine and bourbon.
  2. Sweet corn: Sweet corns are rich in sugar. It is picked up in an immature stage so that the sugar doesn’t convert into starch gradually. This is the corn that we eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This corn is very juicy and sweet in taste. Eating sweet corn may spike blood sugar and prevent weight loss. Sweet corn is a good probiotic because it contains good gut bacteria. This helps in digestion and boosts up the metabolism. Sweet corn reduces blood pressure.
  3. Flint corn: They are even harder than dent corn. Flint corn has a high nutrient value. When you dry these grains, you can use them for foods, like corn meal, corn flour, hominy, and polenta. Flint corn that has a hard shell turns into popcorn. People know them as Calico corn.   
  4. Waxy corn: Waxy corn or glutinous corn are field corn having sticky texture when cooked. It contains high amounts of amylopectin. That is why it is sticky in texture. People mainly use them in food products, but also in the textile, corrugating and paper industry.

Ways to Select and Store Corns:

Corns are mainly of two types, sweet corn and the field corn. People buy sweet corns for culinary purposes. On the other hand, field corns are usually used in the production of flour. When you are buying fresh corns, make sure that the husks of the corn are not dried out.

You can easily find corns in your nearest supermarkets and farmer’s market. They are very easy to store for two to three days. But it’s better to eat them fresh. Yet, if you want to store corn in your refrigerator, it is best to keep it with the husk in an airtight container

Risks of Consuming too Much Corn:

Consuming corn in excess can have side effects of which some are potentially serious and some merely annoying. 

 ●     Corn has an immense amount of fiber and starch. This can spike blood sugar and may prevent weight loss when taken in excess amounts.

●     Corn is deficient in amino acids like lysine, tryptophan, and niacin. So excess intake of corn will increase risk of pellagra. Pellagra is the deficiency of niacin in the body.

●     If you consume an excess amount of corn, it breaks down in the large intestine. Thus producing a lot of gas and causing bloating and flatulence.

●     As corn contains an enormous amount of sugar. So if it’s eaten in excess, it can lead to tooth decay.

●     People depending on corn diet suffer from osteoporosis because corn contains very less calcium in it. So they should take a diet with calcium-rich foods.

●     As we know that corn has high sugar content, so excess eating of corn can surely lead to weight gain. Those who are on a diet should avoid eating corn.

●     Corn contains starch in it. Starch can cause drowsiness and ultimately lead to lethargy.So eating excess corn may lead to lethargy.

Best Ways to Eat Corn:  

1.    Put the husk corn directly on the grill pan on a medium heat with some butter and salt. Cook it for 6-8 minutes. This will provide a delicate taste to it.

2.    You can add corn to soup, enhancing the soup’s hardiness, and its nutritional profile. Corn soups are a very famous dish all over the world.

3.    You can make a corn relish to serve as a side dish combining chopped vegetables and beans mixed with vinaigrette.

4.    You can make perfect dips, sides and toppings using corn. You can roast the corn and use it in quesadillas.

5.    You can make a healthy Sauté. Cook the corn in a small amount of oil and some chilies and onions to make the sauté.

6.    You can make Zucchini-Corn Fritters combining garlic, onions, and corn with two of summer’s best veggies in the pan.

7.    You can also use fresh corn in your pasta. Combine the pasta with butter, Parmesan fresh flavors of corn, tomatoes, and basil.

If you want the maximum nutrition and benefits of corn, it is better to consume them raw. Sweet corns are served in various floating food carts and they taste excellent.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) about Corn:

Q- Is corn a vegetable?

Ans- Whole corn that we eat on the cob is a vegetable. The corn kernel from where popcorn comes is considered a grain. So corn is a vegetable and a whole grain. 

Q- Is sweet corn good for health?

Ans- Sweet Corn is rich in sugar. So it can spike blood sugar and may prevent weight loss when eaten in excess amounts.

Q- Is corn healthier than rice?

Ans – Both contain important vitamins and minerals. Corn is rich in sugar, vitamins A, C, K, E, B2, B5, choline and fiber. Whereas rice is higher in iron, calcium, vitamin B9, and carbs. So the choice depends on which you prefer to eat.

Q- Is corn good for high BP?

Ans- Corn contains phytonutrient in it. This inhibits ACE and lowers the risk of high blood pressure.

Q- Is it ok to eat raw corn on the cob?

Ans – Yes, you can eat raw corn, which is healthy, tasty, and completely risk-free.

Q- How long can we store corn in refrigerator?

A- It is best to eat the corn the day it’s purchased. Still you can store them in a plastic air tight bag and use it within two to three days.