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You Ask, I Answer: Corn, The Vegetable

Corn on the cobI have watched Food Inc. and other films and books that constantly refer to the consequences of eating too much corn.

Corn takes on many different identities, most of which have been given a bad rep.  It is either being wrongly fed to animals or causing nutritional problems in society.

its natural form (like corn on the cob), does corn have any nutritional value?

– Maggie Peurrung
(Location Unknown)

Absolutely.

The nutritional villains you refer to are the byproducts of corn.

High-fructose corn syrup, like all other sugars, provides calories that don’t satiate.  In other words, it is completely feasible to down 400 calories of high-fructose corn syrup (ie: a large soda at 7-11) in a few minutes and still feel as hungry as we did before we took the first sip.

Corn oil, meanwhile, is extremely high in omega-6 fatty acids.

Unprocessed corn (i.e.: corn on the cob) is a different story.  Remember, corn by-products are relatively new ingredients.  Whole corn, meanwhile, has been consumed around the world for thousands of years.

A cup of cooked corn (or one large ear, in barbecue terms) provides 4 grams of fiber, 5 grams of protein, 20 percent of the daily requirement for folate, as much potassium as a medium banana, and 15 percent of our phosphorus and magnesium needs.

The combination of folate, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium make corn a great defender against heart disease and high blood pressure.

Phosphorus, meanwhile, is the behind-the-scenes player helping our kidneys get rid of waste and is also necessary to keep our nervous system in check and running.

The healthiest way to eat corn is grilled or popped. Yes, popcorn (especially in an air popper) is a Small Bites-approved snack. Spice it up with some salt-free chili powder, cinnamon, or nutritional yeast for a heart-healthy, fiber-rich pick-me-up.

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3 Comments

  1. Val said on May 17th, 2010

    I’ve read that yellow corn is also very high in lutein and zeaxanthin, important to good eye health…here’s supporting article:
    http://www.macular.org/nutrition/index.html

  2. Nathalie said on May 18th, 2010

    I would like to know your advice about eating corn (popped or cooked whatever way) and the consequences on our health, knowing that corn is one of the top GMO. Thanks.

  3. Andy Bellatti said on May 26th, 2010

    Whenever possible, seek out corn-products that are labeled non-GMO.

    One of the issues with GMOs is that we do not know what effect they have healthwise. They may be harmless, but, for all we know, long-term consumption could have negative consequences.

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