No matter where you live in the world, corn is definitely one of the most familiar cereal grains.
Although there are many different types of corn that differ from each other in color or size, they all have the same origin, the plant Zea mays.
In many parts of the world, corn has been also well-known as “maize”.
The appearance of corn in the Americas has been recorded for thousands of years.
It not only served as a common part of daily diet, but also emerged in many rituals and ceremonies of the Mayan and the Olmec.
Some evidence even claimed that corn was domesticated in Mesoamerica around 9000-8000 BC.
In other words, since early ancient times, corn was highly appreciated by American tribes.
However, when European colonists came to this continent, they did not share the same opinion.
Nowadays, corn is ubiquitous and the United States makes up for approximately 40 percent of the global supply.
Corn has gone beyond a simple food; it has been even applied to generate fuel.
But normally, corn is still an important part of our diet because it has many health benefits.
The false estimation of European colonists about corn in the 15th and 16th century caused them to suffer from some health problems related to lack of vitamin B3.
Therefore, let’s take a look at corn nutrition facts first.
Corn, as well as other cereal grains, consists of a considerable amount of carbs whose majority is starch (1).
Besides, a minimal amount of sugar is also found in corn (2).
Meanwhile, in sweet corn, the amount of starch is lower and the sugar makes up for a higher proportion with 18 percent.
Another important feature in corn nutrition facts is fiber whose amount is moderate.
A medium-sized popcorn bag which we take in cinema provides about 16 grams of fiber.
The percentage of proteins in corn varies from 10 to 15 percent.
The amounts of minerals and vitamins in corn are different among types.
Generally speaking, minerals (magnesium, phosphorus,…) are found much in popcorn, while sweet corn contains a more considerable number of vitamins, such as B5, B6, B9…
Furthermore, to understand corn nutrition deeply, it is necessary to mention bioactive plant compounds.
Compared to other cereal grains, corn provides more antioxidants, which are responsible for many health benefits.
Health Benefits of Corn
This article will shed light on top 8 health benefits of corn that you ought to take notice of. They all contribute to your well-beings in a simple and efficient way.
1. Diverticular Disease
Diverticulosis, also known as diverticular disease, refers to the formation of pouches found in the colon walls.
This problem is mentioned with some common symptoms, such as bloating, cramps and even bleeding.
There are those who claim that high-fiber foods should be prohibited in the treatment for diverticular disease.
Nevertheless, this statement does not get support from scientific studies.
In fact, some studies suggest that one of the best health benefits of corn is to protect you from diverticulosis.
An observational study with 47,228 male participants lasted 18 years. The result showed that they had less exposure to diverticulosis by 28 percent (3).
With the controversy over this issue, there is a need for more studies in the future.
Bottom Line: On the contrary to common assumption, corn has protective effects against diverticular disease.
As mentioned above, about 16 grams of fiber is present in 112 grams of popcorn.
This number can satisfy 42 percent of men’s daily intake and 64 percent of women’s (4).
Therefore, one of the most common health benefits of corn is to strengthen the function of your digestive system.
Moreover, fiber has positive impacts on the bowel movements by adding more bulk to make your stools smooth.
As a result, the risk of diarrhea will be lower as well.
Bottom Line: Containing a relative amount of fiber, corn can help you cope with a lot of digestive problems, from constipation to hemorrhoids.
Eyes are one of the most important parts in our body, but it seems that people do not pay enough attention to the eye health.
They have to work intensely for most of the time we are awake and their function becomes worse throughout time.
Cataracts and macular degeneration are two of the most popular impairments that might happen to the eyes and lead to blindness (7).
To protect the eyes requires you to take nutrition into careful consideration.
Fortunately, one of the best corn health benefits is to improve your eye health because of its content of carotenoids.
In one study with 356 old participants, those who consumed the most considerable amount of carotenoids were less likely to experience macular degeneration by 43 percent (10).
Bottom Line: With the high content of carotenoids, such as zeaxanthin and lutein, corn can reduce the risk of eye-related problems in elderly people.
The heart might profit from corn health benefits on the level of cholesterol in our body.
The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry stated that corn oil could hinder the absorption of cholesterol.
As a result, the LDL cholesterol that is harmful to the health will decline significantly (11).
Some people claim that this might lead to the decreasing number of HDL or “good” cholesterol. However, it is not true.
Bottom Line: Corn oil is effective in lowering the amount of LDL cholesterol which is the cause of many cardiovascular problems.
5. Heart Health
Corn health benefits on cholesterol will definitely bring about advantages in maintaining your heart health.
However, when digging deeper into health benefits of corn on the heart, scientists found out more amazing discoveries.
Corn is also effective to prevent arteries from being clogged, which leads to higher pressure on the blood.
As a result, you will be less likely to face stroke and heart attack.
Bottom Line: By limiting bad cholesterol and high blood pressure, corn has many great effects on the prevention against many heart diseases.
Anemia is a common problem resulting from the lack of several minerals and vitamins (14).
It is associated with the declining red blood cells in the body.
In fact, the prevention against anemia requires you to supply the body with enough nutrients (15).
And corn is a great source that you should make use of.
A remarkable amount of iron in corn can stimulate the production of red blood cells (16).
Bottom Line: With its content of iron, corn can help you stay away from anemia, a problem coming from iron deficiency.
Loaded with many antioxidants, corn undeniably can fight against a variety of cancer.
This is also one of the best health benefits of corn that has been supported by many studies.
Purple corn contains anthocyanins, a special compound to eradicate free radicals which may trigger cancer cells (19).
Bottom Line: The abundance of antioxidants in corn is the deciding factor for its effectiveness to prevent cancer.
8. Cognitive Function
The high amount of vitamin B in corn contributes to the improvement in cognitive function.
These health benefits of corn mainly come from the presence of thiamine and niacin.
Thiamine is great to reduce the severity of Alzheimer’s disease (22).
Bottom Line: Containing vitamin B constituents, corn can improve the cognitive function.
In general, corn is safe for everyone and corn health benefits have been scientifically true.
Nevertheless, there is still something to concern when you use corn.
First of all, phytic acid which is present in most cereal grains might serve as a hinderance in the body’s ability to absorb minerals.
Another more dangerous side effect of corn is that cereal grains are often contaminated with fungi.
Besides, being rich in calories, corn is not a great choice for those who want to lose weight.
Fiber in corn can support the elimination of toxins from our body.
However, when it becomes excessive, your stomach can suffer from some problems, such as cramps or indigestion.
To sum up, you had better control your consumption of corn in order to maximize health benefits of corn.
This section is designed to provide you with some infographics to grab a quick understanding of corn nutrition and health benefits.
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Disclaim: The effectiveness from using these foods on certain problems and diseases will be depended on the body condition of the applicant.