Corn or maize is a large grain plant that has a leafy stalk that produces ears that have grains protected by silk-like threads known as corn silk and encased in a husk.
It is a cereal grain and that is eaten as a vegetable, depending on the variety.
Although corn is often linked with the color yellow, it grows in a host of different varieties that feature a range of different colors, these include pink, red, blue, black and purple. Apart from its delicious taste, corn contains amazing health benefits.
Health Benefits of Corn
According to studies which were conducted at Cornell University, corn is a great source of antioxidants which fight cancer-causing free radicals. In fact, unlike other foods, cooking increases the number of usable antioxidants present in corn.
It is a high source of a phenolic compound known as ferulic acid, an anti-carcinogenic agent that has been shown to be effective in fighting the tumors which lead to liver cancer and breast cancer. The anthocyanins, found in purple corn, also act as eliminators of cancer-causing free radicals.
Controls Hypertension and Diabetes
Eating more organic vegetables and fruits, like corn, has been linked to reduced signs of diabetes. Studies have shown that the consuming corn kernels helps in the management of NIDDM or non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus and is effective against hypertension due to the phenolic phytochemicals present in whole corn.
Phytochemicals can help regulate the absorption and release of insulin in your body, which can reduce the chance of drops and spikes for diabetic patients and help them maintain a more normal lifestyle.
Corn contains fiber that is metabolized by intestinal bacteria into short chain fatty acids or SCFA. SCFAs foster development of healthy bacteria in your large intestine.
Corn grain is rich in folate, a type of B-vitamin that is known to help in reducing homocysteine, an inflammatory marker attributed to heart diseases. A diet that is high in folate may significantly reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular and other heart-related diseases.
Helps in Weight Management
Corn contains several properties that support weight management. One benefit is that it is low in calories, with just 1 cup providing just 143 calories. About 73% of corn consists of water. This helps in weight management because water adds bulk without contributing any calories. Therefore, you can eat a reasonable portion, be full and still stay within your daily calorie goals.
Another benefit comes from fiber and protein, both of which make you feel full and help maintain satiety for a longer period of time. But, corn is also high enough in carbohydrates that it moderately boosts your blood sugar. A 1-cup serving contains 31 grams of carbs, which is almost one-fourth of a whole day’s recommended carb intake.
Corn helps in preventing anemia caused by a deficiency of these vitamins. Also, corn contains a significant level of iron, which is one of the important minerals that is needed to form new red blood cells. Iron deficiency is one of the main cause of anemia as well.
Rich in Fiber
Corn contains a moderate amount of dietary fiber. Just 1 cup contains just over 3.5 grams. Adult men should get at least 30 grams of fiber a day, and women should consume at least 20 grams.
Fiber is a non-digestible form of carbohydrate that helps prevent constipation, stabilize blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of high cholesterol. Also, it also helps you feel full for longer after you eat it. This is very beneficial if you are trying to lose weight or maintain weight.
Pairing corn with vegetables or beans in a soup or salad will give you an extra shot of fiber.
How to Prepare and Serve Corn
Boiling is the common and traditional method for preparing corn-on-the-cob, though steaming, grilling and even microwaving will get the job done.
When boiling, adding salt to the water toughens the corn; but adding sugar is not necessary. Though overcooking can toughen the kernels. Also, cook for the shortest amount of time possible, for about 5 minutes.