Corn is widely consumed worldwide in numerous forms – boiled, corn on the cob, popcorn, and so on. In addition, corn is also rich in nutrients, easy to cook and incredibly delicious. There are several corn benefits. It is a highly fibrous food item, rich in proteins, carbohydrates, and essential micronutrients like potassium, magnesium, vitamin A, C, and folate.
For a long time, corn was a cereal grain native to Central America. However, it has become popular worldwide, and people use it as a staple food item in numerous countries. The golden goodness of corn helps you manage diabetes, haemorrhoids, anaemia, blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and much more.
Nutritional Value of Corn
145g of raw corn has the following nutritional value:
- Carbohydrates – 27g
- Fat – 2g
- Protein – 5g
- Calories – 125
- Fibre – 3g
- Sugars – 9 g
- Potassium- 392 mg
- Magnesium- 54 mg
- Calcium- 2.9 mg
- Vitamin C- 9.86 mg
- Vitamin A- 271 IU
Corn is also rich in antioxidants like ferulic acid, anthocyanins, lutein and phytic acid.
Though the primary sugar content in corn is sucrose, it is low in glycemic index. That is because of its high fibre content. However, the nutritional value varies among different corn-based foods like corn flour, tortillas, corn syrup due to varied processing techniques.
Did you think that every corn is the same? Well, that is not the case. There are four primary varieties of corn. Each has its unique characteristics and applications. For instance, you cannot pop sweet corn. And boiling field corn will not be a delicacy.
Dent corn is also known as field corn and is the most commonly farmed corn. Dent corn finds its use in cattle feed and culinary. In addition, it has a mixture of hard and soft starches. These get indents after drying, giving the term “dent” corn.
Flint corn is another kind of dent corn. It has a hard outer shell and comes in a variety of colours. The kernels of flint corn are red, orange, yellow and purple hues. Due to its attractive colours, flint corn finds its use in decoration.
Popcorn is a form of flint corn. However, it differs in size, shape, starch, and moisture content. It has a firm shell on the outside and a mushy-starchy core on the inside. When you heat the popcorn, the natural moisture within the kernel converts to steam. As a result, an accumulation of pressure bursts the corn.
Sweet corn is sometimes known as corn on the cob. It is almost entirely composed of soft starch and will never explode. So, we cannot pop sweet corn. In addition, sweet corn has a higher sugar content than other varieties of maise. Additionally, harvesting sweet corn is earlier than different maise varieties. Therefore, it renders this corn sweet and moist.
Health Benefits of Corn
Corn for Bone Health
Estrogen and progesterone levels begin to decline as women near menopause. Estrogen naturally helps to defend and protect bone strength. Hence, the absence of estrogen promotes the development of osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a condition in which bone tissue thins and loses density. It results in the weakening of bones that are more prone to fracture.
A study suggests that soluble corn fibre may help protect bone strength in post-menopausal women. Researchers gave corn fibre to fourteen post-menopausal women in the same research study. The results show that their bones retained calcium. It suggests that soluble corn fibre may improve the overall bone strength and prevent osteoporosis.
Corn helps Improve eye health.
Owing to the high quantity of vitamin A and antioxidants in corn, they are perfect for maintaining good eye health. As a result, they help enhance your vision and prevent macular degeneration, which eventually leads to medical problems such as cataracts, glaucoma and complete blindness.
Corn helps reduce the risks of diabetes.
The Anthocyanin component in corn is highly beneficial in maintaining insulin and glucose levels in your body. Therefore, moderate consumption of corn can help you reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes to a large extent by reducing insulin resistance and thus preventing blood sugar levels from going too high.
Corn Helps Maintain a Healthy Heart
Corn is rich in potassium and magnesium, well-known for maintaining blood pressure and a healthy heart. Potassium helps reduce blood pressure, while magnesium helps prevent strokes and heart attacks. Corn also has a lot of fibre, which is great for lowering bad cholesterol levels in your body.
Corn Enables Weight Loss
Corn has high fibre content, making it a considerable agent for weight loss. In addition, corn facilitates slow digestion due to its insoluble fibre content. Similarly, high protein content provides high satiety value while preventing overeating. Moreover, with high amounts of antioxidants in corn, it helps in reducing inflammation and improving metabolism. It, in turn, helps in healthy weight loss.
Corn Improves Gut Health
The high fibre content in corn promotes the growth of healthy bacteria, which, in turn, improves your gut health tremendously. Your bowel movements become increasingly regular, and it helps you feel light all day. These good bacteria are also crucial in reducing the risk or preventing colon cancer altogether.
Corn Prevents Constipation
Corn is a whole grain that contains a fair amount of fibre. Dietary fibre may assist soften stools, facilitating the regular evacuation of faeces. Thus, corn may help address digestive issues. In addition, it may be beneficial during constipation and haemorrhoids. A study suggests that corn bran may relieve constipation substantially better than wheat bran.
Corn Prevents Diverticulosis
Diverticulosis is the formation of numerous minute pockets (known as diverticula) in the intestinal lining. Diverticula vary in size. It may be the size of a pea or large. These pockets form when gas, waste, or liquid exerts excessive pressure on vulnerable areas of the intestinal walls. Diverticula can also occur due to straining during a bowel movement, such as while suffering from constipation.
An 18- year follow up study on 47,228 men (40-75 years) shows that popcorn consumption may decrease the incidence of diverticulosis. It suggests that popcorn may help keep diverticulosis at bay.
Corn Prevent Skin Damage
Corn is high in Vitamin C, an essential element to prevent skin damage. High levels of Vitamin C help neutralise free radicals, thus preventing hyperpigmentation and fine lines.
It helps fade facial acne scars to make your skin appear clearer. Vitamin C also helps in collagen synthesis that causes faster-wound healing, moist and healthier skin.
Corn Keeps Energy Levels High
Since corn is high in carbohydrates (27g in every 145g of raw corn), they are an excellent food option to increase your energy levels. These carbohydrates digest slowly, which allows you to keep getting energy for a more extended period. You can now stay active and energised without feeling pangs of hunger regularly.
Corn Reduces the Risk of Developing Anemia
Nutrients like iron and vitamin C are essential for preventing anaemia. Iron in corn helps produce haemoglobin, enabling red blood cells to carry oxygen more efficiently. Similarly, vitamin C enhances iron absorption and red blood cell production. Corn is rich in both these components, which makes it beneficial in helping reduce the risk of anaemia.
Corn Helps During Pregnancy
Expecting mothers need high levels of iron and folic acid, both of which are richly present in corn. Folic acid is a crucial element required for neural cells, including brain tissues and the spinal cord. It is also essential to prevent low birth weight, miscarriages, and premature labour. In addition, folic acid protects the mother by reducing the risk of heart problems and high blood pressure during pregnancy. However, it is crucial to consume corn in moderation.
Healthy Ways to Consume Corn
While there are numerous healthy ways to consume corn, here are three easy-to-make recipes:
#1 Corn and Pomogranate Chaat
Prep time: 10 minutes
Serves: 1-2 people
- 1 cup of boiled corn
- 1 cup of peeled pomegranate seeds
- ½ a lemon or lime
- Chopped mint leaves
- Chopped coriander leaves
- Salt to taste
- 2 tbsp tamarind extract
- ½ tbsp cumin powder
- Put the boiled corn, pomegranate seeds, and chopped mint and coriander leaves in a medium-sized bowl.
- Mix well.
- Add a few drops of lime or lemon, tamarind extract, salt, and cumin powder.
- Toss the mixture well. Your Corn and Pomegranate Chaat is ready to serve.
#2 Garden Fresh Corn Salad
Prep time: 20 minutes
Serves: 2-3 people
- 3 cups of boiled corn
- One medium-sized tomato, chopped
- ½ cup chopped cucumber
- ½ cup chopped onions
- 1 tbsp chopped mint leaves
- 1 tbsp chopped basil and parsley leaves (optional)
- 1 tbsp virgin olive oil
- One medium clove of garlic, minced
- Salt to taste
- Black pepper to taste
- Put the boiled corn, chopped tomatoes, cucumber, onions, mint, basil and parsley in a large bowl.
- Mix well.
- Mix virgin olive oil, minced garlic, salt and black pepper in a separate bowl. Now, whisk them well for 2-3 minutes.
- Pour this mixture over the salad in the large bowl.
- Toss the salad well so that the virgin olive oil dressing coats every ingredient appropriately.
- Serve immediately or chill in the refrigerator for later consumption.
#3 Creamy Corn Dip
Prep time- 15 minutes
Serves – 2 people
- 1 cup corn kernels boiled and slightly mashed
- Two green chillies chopped
- 1 Jalapeño chopped
- 2 tbsp – finely crumbled cottage cheese
- 1/4 cup – Greek yoghurt plain
- One sprig of Coriander leaves chopped
- 1/2 Bell pepper small chopped
- 1/2 Onion small chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp chilli powder
- 1 tsp Lime juice
- 1/4 tsp Black pepper
- Add all the ingredients to a large mixing bowl.
- Mix well.
- Adjust the seasoning as desired.
- Serve with baked chips or veggie sticks.
Corn is generally safe for a healthy population. However, some concerns exist.
Corn is energy and carbohydrate-dense. Hence, overindulgence may lead to excess calorie intake leading to weight gain. Therefore, make sure to maintain portion size when eating corn.
Corn contains anti-nutrients
Corn is a whole grain and thus, contains phytic acid (phytate). Phytic acid reduces your ability to absorb dietary nutrients such as iron and zinc from the same meal.
However, you can reduce the phytic acid content in corn by soaking, sprouting, and fermenting.
Corn contains Mycotoxins
Some cereal grains are susceptible to fungal contamination. Fungi create a variety of toxins known as mycotoxins. These are hazardous to health.
Consumption of contaminated corn may be a risk factor for cancer and neural tube malformations. However, in most developed countries, mycotoxin levels in food are strictly monitored.
Gluten intolerance is a common disorder. It results from an auto-immune reaction to wheat, rye, and barley gluten. The symptoms of gluten intolerance symptoms include lethargy, bloating and diarrhoea.
Corn contains zein. This protein is related to gluten. In certain people, high consumption of corn might cause digestive distress such as bloating, gas, and diarrhoea.
Corn is a versatile food item that you can use in independent corn dishes or other recipes. They are light on your stomach and make for a healthy and filling snack, which helps you avoid eating junk food. Indulge in the goodness of corn and make your eyes, heart, gut, and skin amazingly healthy.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Is corn considered good for losing weight?
A. If you eat corn in moderation, it may aid in weight loss. That is due to its high fibre content, micronutrients, and antioxidants.
Q. Can I eat corn every day?
A. Yes. Due to nutritional benefits, its daily consumption will bestow many health benefits. However, you should limit the intake to moderation because of the high starch content.
Q. Can diabetics eat corn?
A. Corn has a low glycemic index. Therefore, people with diabetes can have it in moderation. However, the glycemic index varies among different corn-based foods. Thus corn dishes loaded with sugar like cornflakes, butter or caramel popcorn, etc., should be avoided.
Q. Are canned sweet corn healthy?
A. Studies reveal that fibre and antioxidant content in canned corn are the same as fresh ones. However, the canning process makes it lose vitamin C.
Q. When is the best time to eat corn?
A. You can eat corn at any time of the day. You can enjoy it with the main course or as a snack. You can include it with salads, flatbread or stir-fry veggies. However, make sure to avoid carb-laden options like caramelised popcorn, cream-based corn dishes, etc.
Q. What are the negative effects of corn?
A. Corn contains a toxin known as mycotoxin. In high doses, it may cause side effects. Moreover, corn also contains phytates. These are anti-nutrients and hinder the absorption of other minerals like iron and zinc.
Q. Is corn good for skin?
A. Yes. Corn is high in Vitamin C, an essential nutrient to prevent skin damage.
Q. Can I eat boiled corn at night?
A. You can enjoy boiled corn any time. Just ensure that you consume it in moderate portion sizes.
Q. Does corn increase weight?
A. Corn is energy and carbohydrate-rich. Hence, it may lead to weight gain if you overindulge.
Q. Which is better, rice or corn?
A. Corn has more fibre and protein than rice. Corn is also low in glycemic index. On the other hand, rice has more carbohydrates owing to starch and calories.
Q. What happens if I eat a lot of corn?
A. Eating excess corn may lead to weight gain. Moreover, it contains anti-nutrients and may hinder the absorption of minerals like iron and zinc.
Q. Is corn good for high blood pressure?
A. Yes, corn is good for hypertension. Corn is rich in potassium and magnesium, essential for maintaining blood pressure.
Q. Is corn good for losing belly fat?
A. Corn is an excellent source of fibre and may help you lose weight when taken in moderation. However, it is also energy-dense and may lead to weight gain if you eat it in excess.
Q. Can I eat corn in my diet?
A. Corn provides various health benefits like maintaining gut and heart health. Hence, it can be an excellent addition to your diet.
Q. What are the disadvantages of eating corn?
A. Overconsumption of corn may result in weight gain. It may even hinder the absorption of certain minerals due to the presence of phytates. Moreover, some people may have corn intolerance. Such individuals may experience bloating, gas, and diarrhoea after eating corn.
Q. Can we eat corn in kidney stones?
A. Corn contains oxalate that may contribute to renal stones. Hence, if you have kidney stones, it is better to consult your doctor before eating corn.
Q. Is boiled corn high in potassium?
A. Boiled corn is rich in potassium. Corn (145g) contains 392 mg of potassium.