Is corn good for you? What are the health benefits of corn? What is the nutritional value of corn?The yellow and sweet corn, or also known as maize in some countries, is a favorite snack when boiled, steamed or grilled and rubbed with butter. In South East Asia, a stir fry mixed vegetables including baby corn or candle corn is a favorite side dish. And corn pudding is a much loved dessert.
Corn flakes and corn pops are healthy breakfast cereals. Corn flakes are also used as an ingredient for corn flake cookies. Other than these, extracts from corns are used to make corn oil and corns are also milled and processed to produce corn starch, flour and syrup.
There are many health benefits of eating corns because they contain many important nutrients. Raw sweet, yellow corns contain protein, carbohydrate, dietary fiber, starch, glucose and fructose. The vitamins and minerals available are many of the B vitamins mainly folate, choline and niacin, vitamin C, Vitamin A, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium and sodium.
It also contains lutein plus zeaxanthin, alpha and beta carotene and beta cryptoxanthin. Lutein, zeaxanthin and cryptoxanthin are antioxidant carotenoids.
Total lipid (fat)
Lutein + zeaxanthin
One of the benefits of corn is it provides lutein which the body cannot produce. Lutein is an important nutrient for eye health. A lack of lutein may destroy macula tissue and develop cataracts or blindness as a person ages. The recommended dosage of lutein is 6 mg per day. A cup of corn flakes only provides 325mcg of lutein and half a cup of boiled corn kernels provides only about 600mcg.
Zeaxanthin is the pigment that produces the yellow color in corns. According to research done at the Harvard Medical School, the carotenoid called zeaxanthin is essential to protect the retina from damaging effects of light. Lutein and zeaxanthin usually are found together and both these carotenoid are essential nutrients to avoid the risk of eye degeneration.
The other health benefits of corn include helping fight against free radicals and may reduce the risk of certain serious lung problems and the risk of infections. This is because of the presence of the powerful antioxidant called beta carotene.
The National Institutes of Health published an article in August 2005 about a study made on another carotenoid called beta cryptoxanthin. The study showed that an increase intake of beta cryptoxanthin may reduce the risk of developing inflammatory disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Eating a half cup of boiled corn kernels will provide you with 163 IU of vitamin A. Vitamin A is known for its positive effect on vision. Vitamin A may also aid in building your immune function, bone metabolism and skin health.
One of the other health benefits of corn is in the contents of the B vitamins especially folate. Folate may reduce neural tube defect which are defects affecting the brain and spinal cord. Women who are capable of getting pregnant should take adequate amount of folate.
Corn contains dietary fiber which is useful for colon health. Eating corn may prevent constipation and irritable bowel. The potassium present in corn will benefit your muscles and kidney function. And phosphorus is necessary to help develop strong bones and teeth, remove toxins through the kidney and provides the body with energy. It also aids in proper digestion and is beneficial for reproductive health.