Corn is planted in many countries around the world, also it’s originated from native to Central America. It’s a well-known cereal grains around the world.
Corn has a lot of varieties like popcorn and sweet corn. But the most consumed is the refined corn products. They are used in processed foods as ingredients.
There are some examples of these ingredients: polenta, cornmeal, corn flour, corn syrup, tortillas, tortilla chips, and corn oil.
Like any other cereal grain, whole-grain corn is very healthy. It’s full of fiber, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants.
The most common color of corn is yellow, but it also may be produced in many other colors like red, orange, blue, white, purple and black.
The following article gives you all you need to know about corn.
Facts about nutrition
Each 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of boiled yellow corn give you:
- Calories: 96
- Water: 73%
- Protein: 3.4 grams
- Carbs: 21 grams
- Sugar: 4.5 grams
- Fiber: 2.4 grams
- Fat: 1.5 grams
The main component of corn is carbs like any other grain.
The primary type carb in corn is starch, It comprises 28-80% of the dry weight. And 1-3% of corn is sugar.
There are some types of corn that have low-starch with higher sugar content, like sweet corn or sugar corn. The main form of sugar is sucrose.
On the glycemic index (GI), sugar in sweet corn rank is low or medium and it is not a high-glycemic food.
Foods with high rank on the glycemic index probably raise the sugar level in blood in an unhealthy way. The GI scales the speed of digestion of food in the body.
Fiber is another main component of corn. One medium bag of popcorn you have at the cinema (112 grams) contains about 16 grams of fiber.
The previous amount is about 42% of the daily value (DV) for men and 64% for women of the daily value (DV). Fiber amount in corn varies from one type to another. But for all types, the percent is 9-15% of the dry weight of corn. Hemicellulose, cellulose, and lignin are insoluble fibers that assimilate the main types of fiber in corn.
Corn is a generous source of protein.
The range of protein is between 10-15%, and this depends upon the type of corn. Zeins are the plentiful proteins in corn. they account about 44-79% of the total amount of protein in the dry weight.
Also this major amount of zeins, they are poor in some essential amino acids.
Making them a poor quality source of protein.Zeins involve into many kinds of industries like inks, adhesives and coatings for pills, candy, and nuts.
Corn is a low-fat product with about 5-6% of fat content in it.
There is a plenty side-products of corn milling that contains a lot of fat, a one side-product is corn germ. This goes into making corn oil that is common type in cooking at home.
The main component of purified corn oil is linoleic acid which is a polyunsaturated fatty acid. The rest are monounsaturated and saturated fats that exist in acceptable amounts.
The effect of lowering cholesterol levels in the body is due to the worthy amounts of vitamin E, ubiquinone (Q10) and phytosterols. All of this increases the shelf life of corn.
Vitamins and minerals
The amount of vitamins and minerals in the corn varies depending on the type. But all types contain an acceptable amount of vitamins and minerals in them. Generally, while popcorn has a lot of minerals, sweet corn is rich in many vitamins.
Popcorn is a lovely snack which contains a lot of minerals like:
- Manganese: Due to vegetable’s phytic acid content of corn, manganese is poorly absorbed from it. But it exists in large amounts in whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables.
- Phosphorus: This mineral has a great effect on growth and keeping body tissues. It is found in both popcorn and sweet corn with fair amounts.
- Magnesium: the body must have large amounts of magnesium to avoid many chronic illnesses like heart disease.
- Zinc: Like manganese, Zinc is poorly absorbed in your body due to the phytic acid content in corn. But it has a great role function in the body.
- Copper: Inappropriate absorption of copper may cause unwanted effects on heart health. So, it is mainly low in the western diet, although it has an antioxidant influence.
Sweet corn has a great number of vitamins, such as:
- Pantothenic acid: The deficiency of pantothenic acid (also known as vitamin B5) is rare because it exists in almost all foods.
- Folate: Pregnant women need folate (also known as folic acid or vitamin B9) because it is essential in nutrition.
- Vitamin B6: The most common vitamin of this class of relative vitamins is pyridoxine. It provides the body with a lot of benefits in many functions.
- Niacin: Because Niacin (also known as vitamin B3) has poor absorption in the body, you can cook corn with limecan to increase Niacin absorption.
- Potassium: potassium has a great role in maintaining blood pressure under control and may improve the health of the heart. And so, it is an important nutrient for the body.
Other plant compounds
Corn is rich of bioactive plant compounds, some of them can improve your health. Compared to other cereal grains, Corn has a higher amount of antioxidants.
- Ferulic acid: Corn contains high amounts of this polyphenol antioxidants compared to other cereal grains such as wheat, oats, and rice.
- Anthocyanins: The color of blue. Purple and red corn originates from this group of antioxidants.
- Zeaxanthin: It is one of the most popular plant carotenoids. Its name comes from corn scientific (Zea mays). It is connected to increase eye health in humans.
- Lutein: The oxidative damage to your eyes originated from blue light can be avoided by antioxidant lutein. It is the main component carotenoid in corn.
- Phytic acid: Absorption of dietary minerals like zinc and iron may be deteriorated by this antioxidants.