What food do you think is more synonymous with summer than freshly picked corn on the cob? You’ll find that corn grows in “ears”, each of which is covered with rows of kernels that are then shielded by silky threads called “corn silk” and wrapped in a husk. Though we have often associated corn with the color yellow, it actually comes in many varieties featuring a host of different colors like pink, red, black, blue and purple. These days corn is available in the markets all year round, but the locally grown varieties which one can buy during summer months not only are the least expensive but they also taste the best.
This grain has amassed a diverse reputation all over the world. For some corn is that “staple” food which serves the foundation for burritos, polenta and tortillas. For the others it’s a “snack” that comes in the form of corn chips and popcorn. For still others, it’s regarded as the “special summertime food” which is essential for cookouts and barbecues. Although regardless of its reputation, corn has rarely been considered as a source of health benefits but many research conducted on corn are telling us otherwise.
Research has proved that corn is a source of many vitamins including niacin, folic acid and vitamin C. It’s also rich in calories that are necessary for daily metabolism. Its calorie content is 342 calories per 100gm, one of the highest among cereals. Corn or maize is also contains fiber, many minerals and antioxidants.
Some health benefits of corn:
* Prevents Colorectal Cancer and Hemorrhoids: A cup of corn contains 18.4% fiber which is also the daily recommended amount. Legumes such as beans- fasole and peas- mazare also do not have such high content of fiber which helps in getting rid of digestive ailments such as hemorrhoids and constipation as well as lowering risks of colon cancer.
* Lowers LDL Cholesterol: Consuming corn husk oil helps in lowering plasma LDL Cholesterol by curtailing cholesterol consumption by the body.
* Protects against Hypertension and Diabetes: Consuming corn kernels helps in assisting the management on non insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) and due to the presence of phenolic photochemical, corn is also effective against hypertension.
* Cardio Protective Qualities: It has been confirmed by the researchers that corn oil anti- atherogenic effect on cholesterol levels and thus prevents the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
* Prevention against Anemia: Corn contains folic acid and Vitamin B12, the deficiency of which causes anemia.
* Antioxidant Properties: Studies conducted by Cornell university shows that corn is an abundant source of antioxidant which fights free radicals that causes cancer. It is also rich in an anti- cancer agent called phenolic compound ferulic acid that fights tumors in liver and breast cancer. Anthocyanins that are found in purple corn also act as scavengers of free radicals that cause cancer.
* Rich in Vitamins: Thiamin and Niacin are vitamin B constituents that are abundantly found in corn. Thiamin is important for maintaining cognitive function and nerve health. Deficiency of Niacin leads to Pellagra which causes dementia, dermatitis and diarrhea. Yellow corn is rich in beta carotene that forms vitamin A which is important for good skin and vision.