Corn is one of the most successful cereal grasses of all time. It is considered a human invention that is planted and grown by them. It does not grow in the wild and is one of the most sought after commercial crops in the world.
Corn is scientifically known as Zea mays. It is also referred to as maize or mielie/mealie. It often grows between 3-20 feet, depending on the cultivator.
The kernel part of it has loads of nutrients and it often comes in different colors depending on where it is grown and its varied mix of species.
It is one of the most nutritious grains and contains loads of water as well as carbohydrates and small amounts of protein and fat. It is also rich in vitamin A, B, and E, as well as other minerals.
Moreover, it has high levels of fiber that ensures that you do not suffer from constipation, hemorrhoids or colorectal cancer. Besides, the antioxidants in it also act as anti-carcinogenic agents that help in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.
Corn also provides the body with the necessary amount of healthy calories for daily metabolism.
The Health Benefits of Corn to the Body
Corn has loads of health benefits to the body no matter in which form it is consumed in. It can promote cardiovascular health if consumed in moderate quantities. Too much of corn can cause some health issues and dysfunctions in the body. Besides, it is good for people with renal problems.
Here are some other health benefits of this whole grain.
1. Corn Reduces the Risks Associated With Hemorrhoids and Colorectal Cancer
Corn is widely known for aiding with digestive problems like constipation and hemorrhoids as well as limiting the chances of colon cancer. This is largely attributed to the high levels of fiber found in it.
Basically, fiber helps to bulk up bowel movements so as to stimulate peristaltic motion and the production of gastric juice and bile. Moreover, it can add bulk to overly loose stools so as to reduce the chances of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and diarrhea.
2. Corn is the Best Source of Healthy Calories
Corn is very rich in calories. It has a calorific content of 342 calories per 100 grams, which is among the highest for cereals. The calories are healthy if balanced well with other foods like meat and vegetables.
Ideally, corn is the best food for those who want to gain weight. However, it might not be the best for those who want to lose some weight.
3. Corn is a Rich Source of Vitamins
Corn is very rich in vitamin B constituents like thiamin and niacin.
Thiamin is great for maintaining nerve health and cognitive function while niacin deficiency can lead to pellagra. Pellagra is often observed in malnourished individuals and is characterized by diarrhea, dementia, and dermatitis.
Moreover, corn is also a good source of pantothenic acid which is an essential vitamin for protein, carbohydrates, and lipid metabolism.
Corn also provides the right amount of folate, which is great for pregnant women as it limits birth defects and underweight infants.
Besides, its kernels are rich in vitamin E, a natural antioxidant that protects the body from different kinds of diseases. It also ensures that the body grows naturally well.
4. Corn Has the Necessary Minerals for Body Survival
Corn has loads of beneficial minerals that all function to keep the body healthy. Some of them include phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper, and iron. You can also find trace minerals like selenium, which is difficult to find in most normal diets.
Phosphorus is ideally great for bone formation and health as well as regulation of normal body growth and optimal kidney functioning.
Magnesium is also good for bone strengthening and maintaining a normal heart rate.
5. Corn is a Rich Source of Vitamin A Content
Yellow Corn is the best source of beta-carotene which forms vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is great for vision, skin care, and boosting immunity.
Beta-carotene always produces the right amount of vitamin A that the body needs as too much of it can be toxic to the body.
Moreover, the left-over beta-carotene in the body often acts as a stronger antioxidant that can combat terrible diseases like cancer and heart disease.
In relation to all these, too much beta-carotene in the body is not good for smokers as they risk contracting lung cancer. However, non-smokers with higher beta-carotene are less likely to contract lung cancer.
6. Corn Has Antioxidant Properties
Corn is a great source of antioxidants that fight cancer-causing free radicals in the body. Besides, cooking it often increases the number of antioxidants present in it.
It is also rich in a phenolic compound called ferulic acid, an anticarcinogenic agent that is very effective in fighting tumors which lead to breast and liver cancer.
Purple Corn also has Anthocyanin that helps in eliminating cancer-causing free radicals that roam the body.
7. Corn Protects Your Heart from Diseases
Corn also has an anti-atherogenic effect on cholesterol level that makes it the best meal to have so as to reduce the risk of various cardiovascular diseases.
Corn oil is, in fact, great for increasing heart health due to the combined fatty acid that allows Omega-3 fatty acids to strip away bad cholesterol and replace them at the binding sites. This reduces the chances of arteries clogging up and lowers blood pressure thus reducing the chances of heart attacks and strokes.
8. Corn Lowers LDL Cholesterol
Corn consumption is great for overall body function and that is why the consumption of corn husk oil is guaranteed to lower plasma LDL cholesterol. It does this by reducing bad cholesterol absorption in the body and retaining HDL cholesterol which is great for the body.
HDL often reduces heart diseases as well as prevents atherosclerosis and other dangerous free radicals in the body.
9. Corn Controls Diabetes and Hypertension
Corn has been linked to being a big agent in reducing diabetes through consumption of its kernels. The kernels have been found to assist in the management of non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM).
The kernels are also effective against hypertension due to the presence of phenolic phytochemicals in whole grains, corn.
Phytochemicals are known to regulate the absorption and release of insulin in the body thus reducing the level of sugar spikes and drops of diabetic patients.
10. Corn Prevents Anemia
Corn also helps in preventing anemia that is caused by lack of or deficiency of vitamins.
It is also rich in iron which is needed for the formation of new red blood cells. This limits anemia, which is mostly caused by lack of iron in the body.
Caution with Regard to Overconsumption of Corn
As much as corn is delicious and nutritious, it can cause some allergic reactions to some people. When this happens, you can either experience some mild or severe symptoms like vomiting, headache, rashes, or even nausea. You can also get arthritis, urinary tract infection, and diarrhea. It depends on your immune system and how it reacts to even the slightest sniff of corn.
There is also anaphylaxis, the most severe symptom of corn. Although it is very rare, it is life-threatening to your body as it can impair different parts of your body. Some of its symptoms include a sudden drop in blood pressure, tightness in the chest, dizziness, unconsciousness, and difficulty in breathing.
Corn can also cause some fungal and microbial infections as well as toxicity and skewed Omega 6 : Omega 3 ratio. Besides, other concerns are related to the level of sugar and starch in them. This might not be good for people trying to lose or watch their weight. Additionally, too much use of corn oil can also lead to overweight issues.
It also contains fatty acids that can be dangerous to people who are already at high risk of heart disease.
In relation to this, canned sweet corn has loads of salt which is not good for sodium sensitive individuals. So, always buy those with low sodium quantity and zero added salt.
Corn also has phytic acid (phytate) that impairs the absorption of dietary minerals such as iron and zinc from the same meal. However, it is not always a big problem if you are on a healthy balanced diet. But you can always soak, ferment, or sprout the corn so as to reduce the level of phytic acid in it substantially.
Basically, corn has loads of nutritious values and is widely consumed due to the health benefits it has to the body. It can be boiled, steamed, roasted, or made into popcorns, soup or salad. However, you should not consume it on a daily basis as it leads to weight gain. All in all, it forms a part of a well-balanced diet depending on how you take it.