Summer time and corn on the cob are almost synonymous, but is corn good for you? It seems you can’t have one without the other. It is thought by many that corn is not healthy during the digestion stage, but few people understand just how rich in nutrients corn really is.
History of Corn
Corn has a long history which dates back to 9,000 to 8,000 BC. The Olmec and Mayan cultures grew and used corn as a staple food. They also used it for art, forms of barter, and even in religious ceremonies. By the time Columbus had arrived in the Americas corn was already a main staple of the Native Americans.
Is Corn Good for You?
During the Native Americans cooking process they would add some ash from their fires into the hot water that they were cooking the corn in. This increased the amount of vitamin B3. The early settlers deleted this practice and developed a vitamin B3 deficiency known as Pellagra.
There is a long list of nutrients that corn has in it. Corn contains vitamins A, B3, B5, C, and E. Also is contains lutein, thiamin, folic acid, phosphorus, magnesium, omega 6 fatty acids, iron, zinc, and folate.
What does this Mean for your Health?
Each ear of corn contains about 3 grams or more than 18% of the daily recommended intake of fiber. Fiber helps lower cholesterol and helps reduce the risk of colon cancer. It also helps to lower and maintain proper sugar levels, along with helping digestion and regular bowel movements.
Thiamin helps with the metabolism of carbohydrates. Vitamin C helps build the immune system and helps your body to fight of diseases such as colds and flu. Vitamin B5 helps with physiological health.
We get healthy vision from the lutein and zeaxanthin that is found in corn. It also is high in antioxidants that help destroy free radicals that can cause cancer cells to form. Different varieties of corn will have different photo nutrients and while you may have a favorite color of corn they all have the same nutritional values.
How to Pick the Best Ears of Corn
The green husks and the silk should feel slightly moist, not dry and brittle. Peel back the husk and examine the kernels, they should be smooth and when punctured they should have a milky white liquid come out. Do not peel the husks off until you are ready to cook the corn, it will help keep it fresh longer.
Is Corn Good for you Based on How it is Prepared?
While corn does not lose much in the way of nutrients when cooked, the best way to cook corn is to steam it. But don’t hesitate to put it on a grill, in the oven wrapped in foil or even cooked quickly in a zip lock bag in the microwave.
Though the nutritional values are good for us, depending on the way we eat it can determine just how healthy it truly is. Sometimes it may not be the best for us. Corn saturated in butter and salt can offset the natural and healthy nutritional values. Light butters and sea salt are at least a better alternative.
Corn on the cob is a summertime favorite and there are many ways it can enhance your meals, but you can also add in a variety of other healthy recipes such as salads, soups, casseroles or breads that can make even healthier meals. Understanding the answer to the question “Is corn good for you” can help us to enjoy the taste of this great vegetable even more, and know that this all-time favorite only adds to helping us eat healthier too.
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