Corn is perhaps one of the most popular crops in the world, with about 850 million tons of these yellow seeds harvested annually. Today, a person consumes it whole, in the form of cereals, flour, grows it for livestock feed. But do we know everything about corn? But these yellow cobs are real gold, rich in vitamins and minerals.
What is corn
Despite the fact that the cultivation of corn began 7 thousand years ago by the inhabitants of Latin America (Maya, Aztecs, Incas), it came to Europe only in XVI century and even later - to Asia and Africa. At the turn of the 17th-18th centuries, the inhabitants of Hungary and Romania learned about corn, who immediately dubbed this plant “yellow flasks”.
Corn is a herbaceous upright annual plant that grows up to 2-4 m. the oldest cereal plant on the planet. Modern corn differs significantly from its wild ancestor in both color and higher yields. Interestingly, today it is impossible to find wild corn in nature. Instead, biologists know many varieties of modern culture, and not all of them have the usual yellow color. Today, breeders know white, red and even blue corn. Depending on the purpose, nine main groups of this culture are distinguished: flinty, sugar, dentate, starchy, waxy and others. The ideal growing conditions for corn are subtropical climates, although it also grows well in temperate latitudes.
Corn is an extremely rich source of nutrients. These golden grains supply the body with vitamin C, folic acid, and niacin. In addition, they contain vitamins A, D, E, K. The kernels of this cereal are 72% carbohydrates, 14% protein, and another 14% fat. Magnesium, calcium, selenium, zinc, potassium, iron, phosphorus, copper, and iodine are also present in corn. And by the yellow color of the vegetable, you can determine that it is rich in carotenoids such as zeaxanthin and lutein.
The table below shows the nutrient content per 100 g of raw food.
|Vitamin A||9 mcg|
|Thiamin (B1)||0.16 mg|
|Riboflavin (B2)||0.06 mg|
|Pantothenic acid (B5)||0.7 mg|
|Pyridoxine (B6)||0.09 mg|
|Folic acid (B9)||42 mcg|
|Vitamin E||0.07 mg|
|Vitamin PP||1.8 mg|
|Choline (B4)||23 mg|
|(12 9) Manganese||0.2 mg|
Influence on the body
Recently, corn has become especially popular due to the lack of gluten in it, one of the most strong allergens.
In addition, this cereal is rich in vitamin E, which is essential for skin health, and the present antioxidants protect the eyes and reduce the risk of developing macular degeneration. At the same time, lutein contained in corn grains is useful not only for people with poor eyesight, but also for pregnant women. Regular consumption of this vegetable has a beneficial effect on the development of the fetus. Selenium makes corn a powerful anticancer food as well as a natural remedy for those with kidney problems. These yellow grains are good for the liver and also help prevent the accumulation of excess cholesterol. The water in which the corn was prepared is recommended to be taken as a remedy for urinary incontinence and chronic cystitis.
Top Health Benefits
Just one glass of corn kernels provides nearly a fifth of your daily fiber requirement. And this substance is important for the successful prevention of diseases of the digestive system, especially the intestines, as well as their treatment. Regular fiber intake protects against hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome, and diverticulosis. This component contributes to a faster excretion of waste products from the body. In addition, it stimulates the secretion of digestive juices, which is also important for the proper digestion of food.
Source of vitamins and minerals
Corn is rich in B vitamins, particularly thiamine and niacin. Thiamine is essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system. A deficiency in niacin can lead to pellagra (a disease that presents with diarrhea, dementia, and signs associated with some dermatological problems). In addition, corn is a rich source of pantothenic acid, which is responsible for the proper metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Folic acid deficiency in pregnant women can lead to serious damage to the fetus. Corn is able to provide most of the daily intake of the substance, as well as vitamin E, a natural antioxidant that not only slows down aging, but also improves resistance to various diseases. Vitamin A, found in corn, is important for maintaining healthy eyes and skin, stimulates the activity of the immune system and, as a powerful antioxidant, protects against free radicals.
At the same time, corn contains minerals valuable for the body, such as phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, zinc, iron, and copper. This vegetable will easily increase selenium reserves. Phosphorus, which is part of the chemical composition of these golden grains, is important for the proper development of bones, and also contributes to the proper functioning of the kidneys. Magnesium is significant as a mineral in maintaining a normal heart rhythm and influencing bone density.
Corn is a rich source of antioxidants needed to fight free radicals. The latter, in turn, according to scientists, cause cancer. Unlike other vegetables, corn does not lose its beneficial properties after heat treatment. It may sound paradoxical, but, for example, boiled corn is even healthier and richer in nutrients than raw corn.
In addition, the vegetable contains phenolic compounds, in particular ferulic acid, which, as scientific studies have shown, has antitumor activity, prevents breast and colon cancer.
Protector of the heart
Corn oil prevents atherosclerosis and corrects the level of "bad" cholesterol. The result of such activity is the protection of the cardiovascular system from many diseases. Adding corn oil to your diet is the best way to protect your heart and provide you with beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. Moreover, there are reasons to consider corn as a vegetable that regulates blood pressure. It reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Natural cure for anemia
As a source of folic acid (B9), this cereal is able to prevent anemia. It contains iron, which is necessary for the production of red blood cells. Deficiency of this element is one of the most common causes of anemia.
A helper for diabetics
Corn is useful for people with type 2 diabetes, as it contains phytosterols that regulate the production and absorption of insulin, prevent hypo- and hyperglycemia. In a complex, this effect has a very beneficial effect on the general state of health of patients.
Ripe corn contains a lot of fatty acids. For this reason, it is undesirable for people prone to heart disease to abuse a vegetable, or even more so corn oil. Recently, fructoseobtained from corn, which is used as a raw material for sweeteners, has gained popularity . Meanwhile, substitutes in the form of corn syrup have a very deplorable effect on health: they cause obesity and sharp jumps of glucose in the bloodstream.
Like most grains, corn contains phytic acid, which makes it difficult for the body to absorb minerals such as iron and zinc. This is usually not a problem, especially with a balanced menu with regular meat consumption. But in countries where corn is the main staple of the daily diet, phytic acid can become a serious problem. Soaking the corn before eating will help to slightly reduce the content of this substance in the vegetable.
And one more disappointing fact. Corn is a vegetable that is most often grown from genetically modified seeds. And it's also important to know.
How to choose the right one
This vegetable appears on the markets in the second half of summer. When choosing corn, it is better to give preference to cobs wrapped in green leaves, with shiny and still fresh “hair”. The lighter the grain, the younger, and therefore juicier and tastier corn. The most delicious vegetable is with light yellow grains. It is important that there are no dark spots or mold on the head of cabbage.
Corn is an amazing vegetable. It is used as a raw material in many areas of human activity, including the following:
- food industry;
- folk and traditional medicine;
- chemical industry (for the production of resin, oil, varnishes, paper, synthetic fabrics).
Corn in folk medicine
In the folk medicine of different countries, corn takes pride of place. But for treatment, not whole heads of cabbage, but stigmas are most often used. They are believed to have diuretic, choleretic, and hemostatic properties. In addition, infusions of corn "hair" are used to accelerate blood clotting, dissolve kidney stones, and treat various liver diseases. External use of infusions helps to get rid of various skin diseases, rashes, bruises. Not only folk healers, but also certified therapists prescribe herbal remedies from corn to their patients for the treatment of cholecystitis, hepatitis, inflammation of the biliary tract, cystitis.
To prepare a medicinal corn infusion, you need a glass of boiling water, which needs to pour about 10 g of stigmas. Cover and wrap the dishes with infusion. Leave for at least an hour. Ready medicine to take 1 tbsp. l. before meals three times a day.
Infusion for the treatment of the liver
This remedy is prepared from corn stigmas and rose hips, taken in equal proportions. Pour two tablespoons of the mixture with boiling water (you will need about a glass) and, wrapping, leave for at least two hours. Take 1/3 cup three times a day after meals. You can improve the taste of the drink if you add a little honey.
Decoction for the treatment of weakened hair
Weakened, thin, dull hair can be restored by rinsing them with a decoction of corn stigmas. To enhance the effect, you can take equal proportions of raw corn and nettle.
Corn in cooking
Corn, beans and peppers are the basis of Mexican cuisine, but dishes from this yellow vegetable are also found in many other nations. Soups, fillings for pancakes, pies are prepared from it.
The simplest recipe, adored not only by Mexicans, is grilled corn. To do this, corn cobs are coated with oil, wrapped in foil and baked for several minutes. Sautéed corn with onions and green chili is easy to make. There is an assumption that the ancient Incas prepared a salad of boiled corn kernels, tomatoes, green peppers, red beans and quinoa.
But whatever method is used to cook the corn, it is important to cook it without salt and not to overcook it, as the kernels become too hard after that.
Corn is one of the most widespread cereals in the world. It is a rich source of antioxidants, many vitamins and minerals, so moderate consumption of this vegetable has a positive effect on health.
- Wikipedia. - Corn.
- My healthy diet. - Calorie content "Sugar yellow corn, fresh." Chemical composition and nutritional value.
- Spandidos Publications. – Ferulic Acid Exerts Antitumor Activity and Inhibits Metastasis in Breast Cancer Cells by Regulating Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition.
- Longdom Publishing SL | Open Access Journals. – Anticancer Properties of Phenolic Acids in Colon Cancer – A Review.
- INFOX.ru. – Corn oil effectively lowers “bad” cholesterol.
- Harper's Bazaar. - Corn: benefits and harms.
- Webspoon.ru. – How to choose corn.
- Health - Encyclopedia of medicinal plants, herbs. – Corn (Zea mays L.).