Corn grows in 'ears,' each of which is covered in rows of kernels that are then protected by the silk-like threads called 'corn silk' and encased in a husk. Corn is known scientifically as Zea mays. This moniker reflects its traditional name, maize, by which it was known to the Native Americans as well as many other cultures throughout the world.
Health Benefits of Corn
Health benefits of corn include controlling diabetes, prevention of heart
ailments, lowering hypertension and prevention of neural-tube defects at birth.
Corn or maize is one of the most popular cereals in the world and forms the
staple food in many countries including USA, Africa etc. It not only provides
the necessary calories for daily metabolism, but is a rich source of vitamins A,
B, E and many minerals. Its high fibre content ensures that it plays a role in
prevention of digestive ailments like constipation and haemorrhoids as well as
colorectal cancer. The antioxidants present in corn also act as anti-cancer
agents and prevent Alzheimer�s.
Health benefits of corn are offered by presence of quality nutrients in it.
Also, being rich in phytochemicals, it provides protection against numerous
chronic diseases. Following are some of the health benefits of corn:
- Rich Source of Calories: Corn is a rich source of
calories and forms a part of the staple diet among many populations. The
calorific content of corn is 342 calories per 100grams, among the highest in
- Prevention of Haemorrhoids and Colorectal Cancer: The
fibre content of one cup of corn amounts 18.4% of the daily recommended
amount. This aids in alleviating digestive problems such as constipation and
haemorrhoids, as well as lowering the risk of colon cancer.
- Rich Source of Vitamins: Corn is rich in vitamin B
constituents, especially Thiamin and Niacin. Thiamin is essential for
maintaining nerve health and cognitive function. Niacin deficiency leads to
Pellagra; a disease characterised by diarrhoea, dementia and dermatitis and
is commonly observed in malnourished individuals. Corn is also a good source
of Pantothenic acid which is a vitamin necessary for carbohydrate as well as
protein and lipid metabolism in the body. Deficiency of folic acid in
pregnant women leads to birth of underweight infants and may also result in
neural tube defects at birth. Corn provides a large chunk of the daily
folate requirement. Yellow corn is a rich source of beta-carotene which
forms vitamin A in the body, essential for maintenance of good vision and
skin. The kernels of corn are rich in vitamin E, a natural antioxidant
essential for growth.
- Provides Necessary Minerals: Corn contains abundant
phosphorus apart from magnesium, manganese, zinc, iron and copper. It also
contains trace minerals like selenium. Phosphorus is essential for
maintenance of normal growth, bone health and normal kidney functioning.
Magnesium is necessary for maintaining normal heart rate and for bone
- Antioxidant Properties of Corn: According to studies
carried out at
Cornell University, corn is a rich source of antioxidants which fight
the cancer causing free radicals. In fact, cooking increases the
antioxidants in sweet corn. Corn is a rich source of a phenolic compound
ferulic acid, an anti-cancer agent which has been shown to be effective in
fighting tumours in breast cancer and liver cancer. Anthocyanins, found in
purple corn also act as scavengers of cancer-causing free radicals.
- Cardio-Protective Attributes: According to researchers,
corn oil has been shown to anti-atherogenic effect on the cholesterol
levels, thus preventing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
- Prevents Anaemia: The vitamin B12 and folic acid
present in corn prevent anaemia caused by the deficiency of these vitamins.
- Lowering LDL Cholesterol: According to
Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, consumption of corn husk oil lowers
plasma LDL cholesterol by reducing cholesterol absorption by the body.
- Protection against Diabetes and Hypertension:
Consumption of corn kernels assists the management of non-insulin dependent
diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) and is effective against hypertension due to the
presence of phenolic phytochemicals in whole corn.
- Cosmetic Benefits: Corn starch is used in the
manufacture of many cosmetics and may also be applied topically to soothe
skin rashes and irritations. Corn products can be used to replace
carcinogenic petroleum products which form major components of cosmetic