Corn is one of the most popular cereal grains around the world. It is also known as maize; it is the seed of the plant in the grass family. It is first cultivated in the part of Central America and Mexico. Usually, it is considered a vegetable, but actually, it is a grain. This corn is rich in vitamins, fiber, antioxidants, and minerals. The yellow color corn is very common around the world; there are some other varieties in other colors, such as orange, red, blue, purple, black, and white. Popcorn and sweet corn are popular types around the world. But the refined corn is widely consumed and frequently used as a food. The corn is widely used to prepare tortilla chips, tortillas, cornmeal, polenta, corn syrup, cornflour, and corn oil. Corn is the favorite snack for night movies or parties. The teosinte kernels are smaller than the modern corn kernel. Corns are naturally gluten-free so that it is an excellent alternative option for wheat those who must avoid gluten.
Common Names of Corn
Botanical Name: Zea mays
Tamil Name: சோளம் – Cholam
Hindi Name: मक्का – makka
Malayalam Name: ചോളം – cēāḷaṁ
Telugu Name: మొక్కజొన్న – Mokkajonna
Bengali Name: ভূট্টা – Bhutta
Gujarati Name: મકાઈ – Makai
Kannada Name: ಕಾರ್ನ್ – Karn
Nepali Name: मकै – Makai
Urdu Name: مکئی
Types of Corn
Usually, corn comes in four main types. These four types are mostly used by people worldwide.
Popcorn: The core used to prepare the soft popcorn, and the hard golden color shell of this corn surrounds the starchy center area. A tiny drop of water is placed inside the corn. When heating the popcorn in the microwave or the pan, the moisture in the core is getting steam. The steam builds the pressure, and it points out where the kernel explodes then the starchy center opens like a fluffy white nugget. The popcorn is high in fiber and low in fat; this is perfect snacks for movies and shows. A cup of air-popped popcorn has 30 calories, and oil-popped popcorn has 35 calories.
Sweet Corn: The sweet corn that we eat in the cookout is usually white, yellow, or the combination of white-yellow color. This corn has a bit of sugary taste. It has a high amount of zeaxanthin and lutein, these two give a sweet flavor to this corn. This phytochemical of this corn helps to promote eye health. Sweet corn has a high amount of carbohydrate, and also it has multiple nutrients that give a lot of health benefits to our body.
Dent corn: The dent corn is also known as field corn. This corn is coming in yellow or white color; it has the dent in the top of the kernels. This type of corn is mainly used to feed animals, and also it is used for food manufactures, such as grits and tortilla chips. This type of corn is less juicy and sweet. Almost 90% of the dent corn is grown in the U.S to feed animals.
Indian or Flint Corn: This type of corn is harder than the sweet corn. It comes in white, red, black, blue, and golden color. This flint corn is widely grown in South and Central America. In the U.S, This type of corn is mostly used for fall decoration.
Benefits of Corn
The corn is the perfect meal for the athletes or the people in the gym. Corn has complex carbohydrates, which slows the digestive process so that it provides energy for a long time.
One cup of corn has 29 gm of carbs; it not only provides the physical energy and also ensures the proper function of the nervous system and brain.
Reduce the risk of Anemia
Corn is rich in folic acid, vitamin B12, and iron; it helps to increase the red blood cells in the body. The nutrient of the corn is required for the production of new red blood cells so that it helps to reduce the risk of anemia.
The nutrition value of the 1 cup raw corn has 27 gm carbohydrate, 125 calories, 9 gm sugar, 4 gm protein, 75 mg iron, and 2 gm fat.
Lower Cholesterol and Blood Sugar Level
The corn oil and sweet corn help to increase the blood flow in our body. It also helps to lower the absorption of cholesterol from the food and regulates the insulin level so that it is an excellent option for cholesterol and diabetes patients.
The corn is a rich source of carbs, and it is an excellent source of energy. The corn is extremely rich in Vitamin B5, Vitamin B1, and Vitamin C; it helps to generate new blood cells and fight against diseases.
It is also high in fiber, which helps to lower the bad cholesterol level from the blood and also reduces the blood sugar level.
Best for weight gain
Are you underweight? If you want to gain weight in a healthy way, Corn is a healthy meal to increase your weight for a few kgs.
Consuming junk and bad fats only cause some health issues, but corn has healthy calories, and also, you can get the excellent quality of fiber and vitamins so that it helps to gain some weight with healthy fats.
Protect Healthy Skin
Corn has lycopene and vitamin C, which helps to increase the production of collagen. Due to the presence of lycopene, corn has the antioxidant property, which helps to prevent the UV generation from free radicals so that you can avoid skin damages.
Apart from consuming the corn, its products such as corn starch, corn oil. It can be directly applied on the skin, and also it is used as the ingredient in a lot of cosmetic products. Youngsters like to eat corn in the form of stir-fry, chaat, palak kebabs, and blend in soups.
Helpful during pregnancy
Consuming corn during pregnancy provides a lot of benefits for both mother and baby. Corn has a high amount of folic acid, and also it has the pathogenic and zeaxanthin; it helps to reduce the risk of baby’s birth defection.
It also protects the baby from physiological problems and muscular degeneration. The high amount of fiber of the corn helps to soothe the constipation problem; it is a common problem for the person who is expecting a baby.
Provides Protective antioxidants
The zeaxanthin and lutein are the two main pigments in corn; it helps to protect your eyes and also it reduces the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.
Moreover, the antioxidant property helps to fight against chronic and acute inflammation, and also it helps to protect from the neurodegenerative problem, like Alzheimer’s.
The quercetin is linked with apoptosis; it is the self-destruct function of the body used to destroy the worn-out and dysfunctional cells.
The purple and blue corns have other antioxidants, which is good to treat inflammation. It is also used to protect from oxidative stress and its imbalance between the body’s ability to counter the harmful effect and the free radicals may damage the production of cells.
Good for digestion
The corn has insoluble fiber so that it is not broken down and absorbed in the bloodstream. The insoluble fiber stays in the GI tract, and it increases the stool bulk.
The insoluble fiber of corn is helping to push the waste from our system. Due to this property, corn treat constipation; it reduces the risk of hemorrhoids, and also it helps to lower the risk of colon cancer. The corn fiber also helps with weight management.
For Eye Health
Cataracts and macular degeneration are the most common visual problem around the world, and also it causes blindness.
Old age and infection are the main reasons for these eye problems, but nutrition also plays an important role. Consuming the antioxidants in our diet helps to increase the most notable carotenoids, such as lutein and zeaxanthin, which helps to improve eye health.
The zeaxanthin and lutein are the most important carotenoids in the corn. It contains approximately 70% of total carotenoid, but it is low in the white corn.
This carotenoid is commonly known as macular pigments; it will form a layer over the retina; it helps to protect oxidative damage caused by blue light.
The high level of carotenoids in the blood will help to reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. One study conducted with the 356 middle-aged and older adults proves that consuming large amounts of carotenoids, especially zeaxanthin and lutein, will reduce 43% risk of macular degeneration.
Prevent diverticular disease
The diverticular disease is characterized by the pouches in the wall of your colon. The flatulence, cramps, bloating, infection, and often bleeding are the main symptoms of this disease.
Popcorn is one of the high fiber foods, which trigger this condition. A study proves that popcorn helps to protect against diverticular diseases.
The men who are consuming popcorn will reduce a 28% risk of diverticular disease than the lower consuming people.
Reduce the Risk of Cancer
Corn helps to reduce the risk of some cancers like colon cancer and lung cancer. Corns are rich in fiber so that it helps lower the bad cholesterol level; hence it reduces the risk of colon cancer.
The beta-cryptoxanthin component is present in the corn, which allows healthy lung function, and it may reduce the risk of lung cancer.
Moreover, corn is a good source of flavonoid, phenolic, ferulic acid, and antioxidants. The ferulic acid is most important for cancer-preventing.
Promotes Heart Health
Corn has a lot of nutrients that help to prevent cardiovascular problems. The fiber and other whole grain in the corn help to reduce the cholesterol level in the blood.
Potassium is well-known for keeping the blood pressure level in control; corn is an excellent source of potassium.
Corn also has a sufficient amount of magnesium, which helps to reduce the risk of ischemic heart disease and stroke. Consuming popcorn, fresh corn, or canned corn helps to promote heart health.
Treat Type 2 Diabetes
Polyphenols are a healthy component that is commonly found in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and nuts. The purple corn has a high amount of polyphenols, and also it is called anthocyanin, which helps to regulate blood glucose and insulin level.
The high fiber helps to reduce the cholesterol level in the body, and also it helps to reduce the blood sugar level.
A study conducted by the Iran University of Medical Science proves that polyphenols reduce hyperglycemia and improves the production of acute insulin and insulin sensitivity.
Gluten is the combination of two proteins that present in the cereal grains, especially wheat; this component is responsible for the elastic texture of dough.
The people who are suffering from celiac disease have allergies in barley, wheat, and oats glutens. The gluten causes some side effects on the people who are suffering from celiac disease or gluten disorder. The corn has gluten; it is a better replacement for the people who have allergies in oats, wheat, and barley.
Corn Nutrition Facts
Nutritional Facts of Corn
The various nutrition contains and the value of 100 gm of corn.
|Dietary fiber||7.3 gm|
|Total lipid||4.74 gm|
|Vitamin B6||0.622 mg|
|Vitamin E||0.49 mg|
|Vitamin K||0.3 mcg|
|Pantothenic acid||0.4 mg|
Carbohydrate is a primary component of the corn like other cereal grains. Starch is the main carbs of corn; it has 28-80% of its dry weight.
Corn also has 1-3% of sugar. The sugar corn or sweet corn is unique; it has a low amount of starch and a high amount of sugar. The sugar content of the sweet corn is 18% of its dry weight.
Most of the sugar in the sweet corn is sucrose. In spite of the sugar in the sweet corn, it is not defined as the high-glycemic food; it gets the medium or low place in the glycemic index.
The GI is measured based on the digestion period of the carbohydrate. The diets which are ranked high in this list may cause unhealthy points in the blood sugar.
Corn is an excellent source of protein. The protein content of the corn is from 10-15%; the quantity of protein depends on the type of corn.
The numerous amount of protein present in the corn is known as zeins; it contains 44-77% of total protein level. The protein quality of the zeins is poor because it has some deficiency in essential amino acids.
Moreover, zein has a lot of industrial applications; it is used to manufacture inks, adhesives, candy, coating for pills, and nuts.
Corn has a good amount of fiber. One medium bag cinema popcorn approximately has 16 gm of fiber. This is 42% DV for men and 64% for women.
The fiber contains 9-15% of its dry weight; it differs in the different types of corn. The corn has the predominant fiber, such as cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin; it is insoluble fiber.
Corns naturally have a low amount of fat. It has 1.4 gm fat per medium-size corn. Most of the fat in the corn is heart-healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.
Vitamins and Minerals
Corn has a high amount of iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc, selenium, and phosphorus. It also has Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and folate in the form of beta carotene.
Risks and Side Effects of Corn
Corn is one of the tastiest grains that has a versatile usage. The nutrient of the corn helps to improve our health, but it has some possible side effects also caused by consuming the corn.
The core has ingestible protein so that it causes some allergies to some people, and the symptoms are like swelling of remembrance, mucus, rashes on the skin, vomiting, etc. Moreover, after consuming corn, most of the people are affected by anaphylaxis and asthma attacks.
Cause flatulence and Bloating
Corn has a high amount of starch so that it breaks down in the large intestine, and it produces gas. So when people consume large amounts of corn, it may cause flatulence and bloating.
Risk of Pellagra
Corn is a staple food for most people. when consuming a large amount of corn, it may cause the risk of pellagra. Pellagra is a deficiency of the vitamin, especially niacin in the body. Corn has a low amount of niacin and amino acids. If corn takes a major part in your diets, then you have to make sure that your diet has the rich-vitamin foods to prevent pellagra.
Cause Stomach Upset and indigestion
Corn is a good source of fiber and other important nutrients; it will flush out the bad toxins from the body. But over dosage of fiber is not good for the stomach. If you are consuming a large amount of cereals, it leads to stomach upset and indigestion. So you have to consider the quantity of corn you are consuming.
Cause Tooth Decay
The corn has some good amount of sugar so that it may cause tooth decay. This is one of the rare side effects of corn, but you should not take it lightly. Make sure you are following good oral hygiene and brush your teeth after eating the corn.
4 Myths about corn should stop believing
Myth 1: Corn is unhealthy
No, corn is a grain that contains a lot of nutrients. Most people add corn in their daily diet. Some people think corn is unhealthy because it has a high amount of starch, which is carbohydrate. But the moderated amount of corn per day provides some health benefits.
Myth 2: Corn is not a good source of nutrients
Some of the vegetables like spinach and kale have better nutrition value, just like that the corn also has certain nutrients, such as vitamin C, vitamin B, magnesium, and potassium. Moreover, the yellow corn is a good source of two antioxidants, lutein, and zeaxanthin. These two components are good for a healthy eye.
Myth 3: Your body can’t digest corn
The corn has a high amount of insoluble fiber, so it’s true. This type of fiber goes through the body intact and gets the bowel movement; the nutritionist says it is not a bad thing. If you are consuming a lot of corn, you may see some of it in your stool. But the researchers say the insoluble fiber helps to feed the good bacterias in the bowel. If you get a lot of good fiber in your food, then the insoluble fiber from the corn is good to feed the bowel bacterias in your body.
Myth 4: Corn is high in sugar, so you should in eat it
You do not avoid bananas because you think it has a high amount of sugar? Then why should you avoid corn? The banana and an ear of corn have the same amount of calories around 110, and it has 2-3 times of sugar. A cob of corn has 6-8 gm of sugar, but a banana has 15 gm. If you are not avoiding bananas for this reason, then you can eat corn also.
The Bottom Line
Corn is one of the widely consumed grains around the world. It has a good source of antioxidant components, such as zeaxanthin and lutein. The corn is also a rich source of minerals and vitamins. Due to this reason, the moderated consumption of corn, like sweet corn or popcorn is a good additional option for a healthy diet.