How the benefits of corn outweigh the risks and how sustainably-sourced crops are attractive to modern-day buyers.
You may know corn as the delicious side dish in your summer barbeque or as the notorious cinema snack which rustles during your favorite film. But do you know what corn actually is and how it can impact your body?
Corn, also named maize in some areas, is a cereal grain that was first domesticated by residents in southern Mexico ten thousand years ago.
Popped corn is the most popular movie theater snack in the form of popcorn. Before popcorn is prepared, it has a starchy, soft center encased by a hard shell. It contains a drop of water on the inside. When the corn is heated, either in a pan or a microwave, this moisture within the corn lets off steam. This builds pressure, causing the kernel to explode and reveal the center’s opening of a fluffy, white nugget.
Dried and ground into flour, the corn’s seeds can become something called cornmeal for chips, tortillas, and crackers. The sweetcorn eaten at barbecues or with other meals appears white, yellow, or a blend of these two colors. It has a slightly sugary taste. On the other hand, Indian or flint corn is harder than your regular sweetcorn. Coming in a range of colors, including white, red, black, blue, and gold, flint corn grows in South and Central America, where it is commonly used for fall decorations. Further still, dent corn, coming in whites and yellows, can be identified with a dent in each kernel’s top. It is usually utilized as manufactured foods and animal feed.
How Corn Impacts Our Health
Let’s dive into some of the benefits of corn.
Better Gut Health
While some corn holds a sweet taste, corn products can lead to better gut health than products including processed white flour. This can reduce the risk of you contracting diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
Corn contains antinutrients that compound and can stop your body from absorbing some nutrients to the best of its ability.
The fiber within corn can help you seem full for longer, reducing the amount you feel the need to snack. Additionally, it releases healthy bacteria into your digestive tract. This could help protect you against colon cancer.
When thinking about nutrients, color certainly matters. Pigments in plants are where you can identify natural chemicals, also known as phytonutrients, which hold the antioxidants. This explains why yellow and white corn has fewer antioxidants than darker colors of corn.
Corn is incredibly rich in vitamin C. This can help protect your body’s cells from harm, warding off diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Yellow corn is also a great source of zeaxanthin, carotenoids, and lutein, which are useful for eye health. They can reduce the risk of getting a cataract. The corn’s intake of vitamins E, K, and B, as well as potassium and magnesium, can also support the body’s overall function.
Popcorn may be able to help reduce diverticulitis. This is a condition that creates pouches in your colon walls.
While corn has its benefits, the risks of eating it must also be considered.
Blood Sugar Levels
Since corn is a starchy product, it contains carbohydrates and sugars, which can increase your blood sugar levels. This shouldn’t be a problem if it isn’t overdone; however, people particularly with diabetes need to watch their corn intake.
As well as containing nutrients, corn contains antinutrients. These are compounds that can stop your body from absorbing some nutrients to the best of its ability. However, soaking corn can be a good way to remove these compounds.
Corn can sometimes get contaminated by fungi. This releases mycotoxins. Therefore, if you eat large portions of corn embodied with these types of toxins, you may be at higher risk for contracting liver problems, certain types of cancers, lung problems, and a slower immune system.
There have been raised concerns about GM crops recently. Scientists are able to modify the DNA in corn crops to make them more insect resistant, more nutrient-rich, or more resistant to drought. Whilst there is zero evidence that GM crops pose risks to the human body, it’s certainly a topic that many are wary of.
As you can tell, the benefits of eating corn certainly outweigh the potential risks. As a high-nutrient source of food, corn can help keep harmful diseases at bay and be a valuable part of your healthy lifestyle. Products that contain sustainably-sourced corn can attract a wide range of customers, with modern buyers wanting to both stay healthy and protect our environment.