When you open the ‘ears’ of this vegetable, you come across lovely, sturdy, healthy and robust yellow corns packed in rows of kernels. Come rains, almost everyone including kids, chatty teenagers, college going students, middle-aged and senior citizens love to stop by at a street side vendor to pick up ‘bhutta’ with black salt sprinkled on the corn kernels.
Yes, the taste of freshly picked corn on the cob is great in the monsoon weather. But how many of you know that it is superb for health too?
Corn is not just a snack food that is available in the form of popcorn or corn chips. It also adds unique flavour to dishes. Corn is in fact the staple food in many western countries such as the United States of America and African countries as well where it is called ‘maize’. Let’s check out the multiple benefits of this popular grain.
Nutritional Value of Corn
The kernels of the corn hold the maximum benefit when it comes to giving you nutrition. They have plenty of vitamins such as vitamin B-6, C, iron, potassium and magnesium, minerals and dietary fiber.
Corn also has antioxidants that are anti-carcinogenic and are capable of protecting you from Alzheimer’s disease.
Being a popular snacking food item, corn can be enjoyed in various forms such as whole corn, corn flour, popcorn, cornflakes, cornstarch, corn syrup, cornmeal, corn oil etc.
Maize Nutritional Value – Minerals
Health Benefits of Corn
Not only delicious in taste, corn is delicious for your health too. It safeguards you from many chronic ailments.
Corn has a plethora of minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, iron, manganese, copper. It also has trace minerals such as selenium.
Phosphorus plays a vital role in promoting bone health and kidney functioning. Magnesium is best in maintaining normal heart rate and also increases the strength factor of your bones.
In a study done at the Cornell University, the antioxidants in corn fight cancer-causing free radicals. Corn has a phenolic compound called ferulic acid which effectively fights cancerous tumours in the breast and liver. Antioxidants are known for reducing most cancers, so having corn is utterly useful in eliminating cancer-causing free radicals.
Corn oil reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases and clogging of arteries. This helps decrease bad cholesterol and reduce the chances of heart attack as well as stroke.
When you consume corn husk oil, it lowers LDL cholesterol in your body thereby reducing the chances of atherosclerosis.
4. Prevents Anaemia
Corn has high levels of iron which help in formation of new blood cells. Deficiency of iron in your body is the main reason for anaemia.
5. Controls Diabetes
Diabetes has become a rampant ailment for many years now on a national and international level. Nutrition is one of the key influencing reasons behind it. When you eat more of organic fruits and vegetables such as corn, there are lesser chances of you getting affected with diabetes.
Phenolic phytochemicals present in corn regulate the release of insulin in your body helping you maintain a normal and healthy lifestyle.
6. Vitamins Galore
Corn is extremely high in vitamin B, especially Niacin and Thiamin. While Thiamin maintains nerve health, deficiency of Niacin can lead to Pellagra, an ailment found in malnourished individuals that is characterised by acute diarrhoea.
Corn also has high levels of beta carotene, which helps in the formation of vitamin A in the body. Once that happens, you stand to benefit from good skin and eyesight.
If there is any amount of beta carotene that hasn’t been used up in the formation of vitamin A, then it acts as an antioxidant to fight heart ailments and cancer.
Corn is also rich in Pantothenic acid which is necessary for protein, carbohydrate and lipid metabolism in your body. It also has a large amount of folate and the corn kernels are rich in vitamin E.
7. Contribution in Cosmetics
Corn starch is used in making several topical cosmetic products that help soothe skin irritation and rashes.
8. Reduces haemorrhoids and prevents constipation
A single cup of corn has 18.4% fiber which helps in lowering the risk of colon cancer and digestion-related problems such as constipation and haemorrhoids.
Popcorn is easily digestible. The best part about it is that it is starch-free and non-fattening and adds bulk to bowel movements. So each morning you can come out fresh and light from the washroom!
Choosing a Corn
When summers are on their way out, it is perhaps the right time to pick up a corn. Though good tasting corns are available all through the year, it is advisable to stay away from corns that are out of season.
The best time to eat corn is within 1 or 2 days of purchase. Once you get it home, refrigerate it instantly. As temperatures go up, the natural sugar found in starch gets converted into starch which makes it lose out on its sweetness.
How to Enjoy Corn
The easiest way is to enjoy corn on the cob or season it with a bit of butter, salt, pepper, or any other herbs and spices to your taste.
Enjoy it as a salad by adding corn kernels, tomatoes and green peppers.
Alternatively, you can add corn to soup or enjoy it as a side dish by sautéing cooked corn with onions and green chillies.
So whether it is a picnic basket or working lunch, corn can be carried with you and easily enjoyed.
Recipe for Corn Cutlets
With the kind of benefits mentioned above, corn deserves its place on your dining table. Give it pride of place in your diet and you will love the benefits.