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Corn is among the most popular and versatile of cereal grains with a very high nutrition value. It is also called maize (Zea mays) and belongs to the grass family. There are a lot of health benefits of corn including eye health, increase in growth, cancer prevention. It can be regarded as a starchy vegetable which is rich in carbohydrates and other nutrients. Here are the main nutritional contents of corn.
Top Corn Nutrition Facts To A-maize You.
The main components of a corn ear are carbohydrates, protein and fat with varying amounts of water. The composition varies in different varieties of the corn. One small ear of corn contains about 86 calories, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of proteins and 2 grams of fibre. The amount may easily vary as per the size. The fat content is minimal, and there is no cholesterol. It also has a good amount of electrolytes like potassium and magnesium and also has a significant amount of dietary fibres. A good meal of sweet corn can be a source of various nutrients in one go.
Carbs in Corn
Carbs are the main components in corn just like any other cereal grain. Starch takes of the larger composition as carbs and sugar are present in the small composition. In sweet corn which is a low-starch variety, the percentage of sugar is higher. The rating of glycemic index is medium to low for corn, which means it won’t cause irregular spikes in blood sugar.
Fiber in Corn
The fibre in corn consists of insoluble varieties like hemicelluloses, cellulose and lignin. One may say that one full bag of popcorn provides a person with an adequate amount of fibre for the day. Compared to other cereal grains, the fiber content of corn is higher which 9% to 15% including all the varieties.
The corn kernel is a good source of protein, the composition ranging from 10% to 15%. Zein is a low-quality protein which is more abundant in proteins of corn. It is not very beneficial for the body since it lacks some essential amino-acids like lysine and tryptophan. However, zein is a useful ingredient for inks and adhesives and coatings of pills and candies.
While corn is a low-fat food, corn germ, a side product of corn milling is rich in fat and used in the production of corn oil. Refined corn oil mainly consists of linoleic acid which is polyunsaturated fat. Corn oil contains nutrients like vitamin E, ubiquinone, and phytosterols. These ingredients expand its shelf life, making it low-cholesterol oil. It can be used for cooking though it has some issues like other vegetable seed oils due to the high omega-6 content.
Vitamins and Minerals
The type of corn determines the composition of different vitamins and minerals. While popcorn is rich in minerals, sweet corn has a higher proportion of vitamins. The different minerals in popcorns have several beneficiary points. The presence of phytic acid in corn lowers the absorption rate of manganese and zinc present in popcorn. Magnesium is an important element found in corn which is very good for the heart. Phosphorus is found in both popcorn and sweet corn, important for the growth of tissues and cells in the body. Copper is also an element found in popcorn, important for the health of the heart. Potassium is another important element in the corn composition important for the blood flow and maintenance of body fluids. Vitamin B and its variants are majorly found in sweet corn. B3, B5, B6 and B9 are important vitamin varieties for various bodily functions. Vitamin B9 or folic acid is especially important for pregnancy in women.
Other Plant Compounds
Among other bioactive plant compounds found in corn, many of them have beneficial effects on the body. The composition of anti-oxidants is especially higher in corn than other cereal grains. Zeaxanthin is carotenoids which are very good for eye health, are richly abundant in corn. Lutein is also an anti-oxidant carotenoid found useful for the eye, protecting it from oxidative damage of blue light in the retina. Ferulic acid and phytic acid are other anti-oxidant components in corn. Anthocyanins are also anti-oxidant pigments responsible for the red, blue and purple in different varieties of corn.
The best thing about corn is its versatility and abundance of nutrients. Corn has already been a staple in many countries and shall continue to be a great addition to the diet for generations to come.