Health Benefits Of Corn

Is Corn Good For You?

by

Tamara
January 20, 2022
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Maybe you enjoy tortillas and crackers made of corn flour or you enjoy adding some sweet corn to your summer cookouts because of how delicious and crunchy it is.

You might even find that you regularly indulge in snacks containing corn.

Is popcorn made of corn?

If you love eating popcorn every now and then, you’re a fan of corn! However, the corn used to make popcorn is different from the type of corn you eat in other forms. It’s a special variety of corn.

Before you go ahead and buy more sweet corn or a pack of corn tortillas, here’s what you need to know about corn. Is it healthy? Let’s find out. 

What, Exactly, Is Corn? 

What, Exactly, Is Corn?

Corn is both a vegetable and grain – sweet corn is a vegetable, whereas dry seeds used to make popcorn are whole grains. Corn is sometimes referred to as maize.

You can find corn in a variety of colors, such as yellow, white, purple, blue, and red. It can be eaten in a variety of forms, such as polenta, sweet corn, grits, tortillas, and chips. 

What Are The Health Benefits Of Corn?

Corn has many health benefits. These include the following. 

  • Corn contains fiber that helps you stay fuller for longer. Dietary fiber has been linked to a lower risk of health conditions such as cancer and heart disease. By eating enough fiber on a regular basis, you will have a healthier digestion and fewer gut issues. Just half a cup of corn contains about 2.4 grams of fiber, which contributes to your daily recommended amounts of around 25 to 30 grams.
  • Corn contains antioxidants, such as Vitamin C that protects against cell damage that can lead to health issues. Yellow corn is particularly good when it comes to corn’s antioxidant content, such as carotenoids, as these can help to maintain eye health. Lutein and zeaxanthin are two carotenoids that improve eye health because of how they prevent cell damage, and they are both found in corn. 
  • In addition to the above, corn contains other nutrients, such as folate, phosphorus, potassium, and B vitamins.
  • Corn is gluten-free, so it’s great for you if you have celiac disease or have to avoid gluten foods in your diet. 

A 90-gram quantity of fresh corn contains 3 grams of protein, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 17 grams of carbohydrate, and it works out to about 80 calories, so it can work well in a low-calorie diet.

However, corn contains fewer nutrients than other vegetables. It also doesn’t contain any quantity of some nutrients you need in a healthy diet, such as calcium. 

Why Can Corn Be Unhealthy?

Why Can Corn Be Unhealthy?

Since corn is a starchy vegetable, it has carbs and sugar that increase your blood sugar levels.

This is why it’s important to eat small portions of corn. If you have diabetes, it’s even more essential to limit your intake of corn. Here are some other factors that can make corn unhealthy.

  • Corn is known for containing antinutrients, which are compounds that prevent the body from absorbing nutrients from other foods. That said, you just have to soak your corn well to remove many of these compounds so that you don’t consume them. 
  • Corn contains mycotoxins, which are toxins produced by fungi. It contains three classes of these toxins: aflatoxins, fumonisins, and trichothecenes. These are also found in cereals but their negative health effects have mainly been linked to consuming corn products. If you consume a lot of contaminated corn, this can lead to health conditions such as cancer as well as birth defects.
  • Most of the corn that’s produced contains genetically modified organisms (GMOs). These modified corn crops can produce larger amounts of corn and have a greater resistance to chemicals or disease than unmodified crops. However, research that’s been conducted on GMOs is contradictory and it’s still not known if corn containing GMOs is harmful to human health. 
  • While it’s said that corn is gluten-free, and therefore it can be a healthy addition to a gluten-free diet, corn does contain proteins known as zein. These are related to gluten and they can be problematic in their own way. Zein can cause inflammation in people who have celiac disease, even though this is less of a reaction as compared to gluten. If you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), corn has been found to be a symptom trigger because of this protein. 

How To Eat Corn For Increased Health

How To Eat Corn For Increased Health

How you eat corn makes a difference in how healthy – or unhealthy – it is!

As we’ve mentioned, corn can take many forms, and these influence whether or not the corn you’re consuming is healthy. For example, if you’re eating corn kernels from the cob, these have been minimally processed and are therefore a good source of nutrients such as fiber.

Popcorn is also a good source of fiber, but you should make it healthier by not consuming it with salt and butter as these can be filled with sodium and fats that make it an unhealthy snack.

You can also find corn in products such as high fructose corn syrup. These should be avoided as they are not a healthy form of corn to consume. They are highly processed, which has eliminated many of corn’s natural nutrients.

High fructose corn syrup can be found in foods such as soda, candy, canned fruit, salad dressing, breakfast cereals, and more. 

Healthy Ways To Add Corn To Your Diet

Healthy corn recipes

Fresh corn is obviously the healthiest type of corn to eat, and you can do a lot with it. Here are some ideas.

  • Grill it. Grill corn in their husks – this is really easy to do and produces delicious results! After grilling the corn, add delicious butter to it. For even healthier corn, replace regular butter for a healthy nut butter or olive oil.
  • Steam it. By steaming corn, you maintain its crispy texture. Then, serve it with a splash of lemon and some chili powder for a lovely burst of flavor.
  • Whip up corn soup. Just like you make soup with other vegetables, you can make corn soup. Cut the kernels off the cobs and make a corn broth by boiling the corn cobs in water with some salt and herbs. Let it simmer for about half an hour and then strain it so you have liquid for the soup.
  • Use them in baked goods. You can add corn to batter and dough to give it a bit of crunchy sweetness. You can also blend the kernels so that you can add them to pancakes for a creative twist on a classic.
  • Add corn to salad. If you want to give salads a crunchy texture and a few more nutrients, you should add corn kernels to them. They work well with other vegetables or fruits like mango. 
  • Make creamed corn. You can conveniently make delicious creamed corn as a side to main dishes – and you can use your slow cooker for the task. Add corn, salt, and sugar to your slow cooker, then pour milk and add a bit of cream cheese and butter. Yum! 

Is corn good for losing weight?

Corn can help you to lose weight because of its fiber content. Fiber is filling and satisfying, which can make you feel fuller for longer.

Is it safe to eat corn daily?

Corn should form part of a balanced diet. You can eat about two cups per day, as part of a healthy 2,000 calorie diet. However, you should ensure you fill your diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables. 

Does cooking corn remove its nutrients?

Cooking sweet corn actually bolsters its nutrient content. A study found that although sweet corn loses its Vitamin C content when cooked, its antioxidant activity actually increases. 

Conclusion 

If you’re not sure if corn is healthy to add to your diet, we have given you the lowdown.

Although there are some health concerns concerning the consumption of corn, such as that most of the corn produced contains GMOs, corn does have valuable nutrition to add to your healthy diet. It also adds extra sweetness and texture to a variety of foods and recipes.

That said, you will get the most benefits from eating corn that’s not been processed, and you should avoid heavily processed products containing corn as these have had their nutrients eliminated.

Sources:

Tamara

Tamara is an avid foodie and successful restaurateur. She has dedicated a large chunk of her life to researching healthy food recipes and diet plans, and also teaching people how to improve their eating habits. Using Eatomology, Tamara shares the very best diet plans, cookbooks, and more. Also, for those on a quest to improve their kitchen, Tamara shares some awesome and high-quality kitchen equipment recommendations as well as buying guides on her website.