Corn is perhaps one of the most popular crops in the world - annually collect about 850 million tons of these yellow seeds. Today, a person uses it whole, in the form of cereals, flour, and grows it for livestock feed. But do we all know about corn? But these yellow cobs are real gold, rich in vitamins and minerals.
What is corn?
Despite the fact that corn cultivation began even 7 thousand years ago by the inhabitants of Latin America (Maya, Aztecs, Incas), it came to Europe only in the 16th century and even later - to Asia and Africa. At the turn of the XVII-XVIII centuries, residents of Hungary and Romania learned about corn, and immediately “christened” this plant “yellow flasks”.
Corn is an upright annual herbaceous plant that grows up to 2-4 meters. There is speculation that this is the oldest cereal plant on the planet. Modern corn differs significantly from its wild ancestor in both color and higher yield. Interestingly, today it is impossible to find wild corn in nature. Instead, biologists know many varieties of modern culture, and not all of them are of the usual yellow color. Today, breeders know white, red and even blue corn. Depending on the purpose, 3 main types of this vegetable are distinguished: sweet (for canning), fodder and intended for the production of flour and cereals. An ideal climate for growing corn is a subtropical climate, although it also grows well in temperate latitudes.
The nutritional value
Corn is an extremely rich source of nutrients. These golden grains supply vitamin C, folic acid, niacin to the body. In addition, they contain vitamins A, D, E, K. The kernels of this cereal are 70 percent carbohydrate, 15% protein, and another 8% of the composition is fats. Magnesium, calcium, selenium, zinc, potassium, iron, phosphorus, copper, iodine are also present in corn. And the yellow color of the vegetable makes it clear that it is rich in carotenoids, such as zeaxanthin and lutein. Corn is a fairly high-calorie product. 100 g of grain contains approximately 356 kcal. So this cereal is not the best choice for people on a diet. On the contrary, it is often attributed to persons with a lack of body weight.
|Calorie content||546 kcal|
|Vitamin A||0.2 g|
|Thiamine (B1)||0.5 g|
|Riboflavin (B2)||0.1 g|
|Pantothenic Acid (B5)||0.5 g|
|Pyridoxine (B6)||0.5 g|
|Folic Acid (B9)||27 mcg|
|Vitamin E||5.6 g|
|Vitamin PP||4 mg|
|Choline (B4)||69 mg|
Effect on the body
Recently, corn has become especially popular due to the lack of gluten in it, one of the most powerful allergens.
Also, this cereal is rich in vitamin E, on which skin health depends, and the antioxidants present protect the eyes and reduce the incidence of macular degeneration. At the same time, lutein from corn grains is useful not only for people with poor eyesight, but also for pregnant women. Regular consumption of this vegetable is beneficial for the development of the fetus. Selenium makes corn a powerful antitumor product, as well as a natural medicine for people with impaired renal function. 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 means against urinary incontinence and chronic cystitis.
Top Useful Features
Reduces the risk of colon cancer, hemorrhoids
Only 1 cup of corn grains contains almost a fifth of the daily fiber requirement. And this substance is important for the successful prevention and treatment of digestive organs, especially the intestines. Regular fiber intake will protect against hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulosis and reduce the risk of cancer in the colon. Fiber promotes faster excretion of waste products from the body. In addition, this substance 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, in particular thiamine and niacin. Thiamine is necessary for the proper functioning of the nervous system. Niacin deficiency can lead to pellagra (this disease is manifested by diarrhea, dementia, and symptoms common to some dermatological problems). Corn is also an excellent 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 fetal damage. Corn is able to provide most of the daily norm of a substance, like vitamin E, a natural antioxidant that not only slows down aging, but also improves resistance to various diseases. Vitamin A, presented in corn by beta-carotene, is important for maintaining healthy eyes and skin, stimulates the activity of the immune system and, being a powerful antioxidant, protects against free radicals.
At the same time, corn contains valuable minerals for the body, such as phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, zinc, iron, 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 that maintains a normal heart rhythm and affects bone density.
Studies show that corn is a rich source of antioxidants needed to counter free radicals. The latter, in turn, according to scientists, cause cancer. Unlike other vegetables, corn does not lose its healthy properties after heat treatment. This may sound paradoxical, but, for example, boiled corn is even more useful and richer in nutrients than raw.
In addition, the vegetable contains phenolic compounds, in particular ferulic acid, which, as shown by scientific studies, has antitumor activity and prevents breast and liver cancer.
Corn oil prevents atherosclerosis and corrects the level of "bad" cholesterol. The result of this activity is the protection of the cardiovascular system from many diseases. Introducing corn oil into your diet is the best way to protect your heart and enrich your body with healthy omega-3 fatty acids. There is also reason to consider corn a vegetable that regulates blood pressure. It reduces the risk of atherosclerosis, heart attack, stroke.
A natural cure for anemia
Being 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.
Enemy of Cholesterol
Corn husk oil lowers bad cholesterol. This conclusion was made by scientists after a series of experiments. Under the influence of corn oil, the body reduces the activity of cholesterol absorption. At the same time, the vegetable does not affect the indicators of "good" cholesterol, which is necessary to strengthen the cardiovascular system, prevent atherosclerosis and is important in the fight against free radicals.
Despite its high calorie content, corn is good for people with type 2 diabetes. And all because it contains phytosterols, which regulate the production and absorption of insulin, prevent hypo- and hyperglycemia. In the complex, such an effect is very beneficial for the general state of health of patients.
Ripe corn contains a lot of fatty acids. For this reason, people prone to heart disease, it is undesirable to abuse a vegetable, or even corn oil. Recently, fructose obtained from corn, which is used as raw material for sweeteners, is gaining popularity. Meanwhile, surrogates in the form of corn syrup have a very deplorable effect on health: they cause obesity and sudden surges in glucose in the bloodstream.
Like most cereals, corn grains contain phytic acid, which complicates the body's absorption of minerals such as iron and zinc. This, as a rule, is not a problem, especially with a balanced menu with regular meat consumption. But in countries where corn is the main daily food item, phytic acid can be a serious problem. Soaking the content of this substance in a vegetable will help to soak the corn before eating.
And one more disappointing fact. Corn is a vegetable that is most often grown from genetically modified seeds. And it is also important to know.
How to choose the right
In the second half of summer, this vegetable appears on the markets. When choosing corn, it is better to give preference to ears of corn, wrapped in green leaves, with shiny and still fresh "hair." The lighter the grain, the younger, and therefore, the juicier and tastier the corn. The most delicious vegetable is with light yellow grains. It is also important that there are no dark spots or mold on the head.
Areas of use
Corn is an amazing vegetable. It is used as a raw material in many areas of human activity:
- in the food industry;
- for the manufacture of strong alcoholic drinks and beer;
- in pharmacology;
- in cosmetology;
- in folk and traditional medicine;
- in the chemical industry (for the production of resin, oil, varnishes, paper, synthetic fabrics).
Corn in folk medicine
In folk medicine in different countries, corn occupies an honorable place. But for treatment, most often they do not use whole heads of cabbage, but "stigmas." It is believed that they have diuretic, choleretic and hemostatic properties. Also, infusions of corn “hair” are used to accelerate blood coagulation, dissolving kidney stones, and treat various liver diseases. External use of infusions helps in the treatment of various skin diseases, rashes, bruises. Not only folk healers, but also certified therapists prescribe their patients herbal preparations from corn for the treatment of cholecystitis, hepatitis, inflammation of the biliary tract, cystitis.
A universal recipe for infusion of "snout"
To prepare a medicinal corn infusion, you need a glass of boiling water, which pour about 10 g of stigma. Cover and wrap the dishes with the infusion. Insist at least an hour. Take the finished medicine 1 tablespoon before meals three times a day.
Infusion for the treatment of liver
It is prepared from corn "stigmas" and rose hips, taken in equal proportions. Pour 2 tablespoons of the mixture with boiling water (you need about a glass) and, wrapping it, insist for at least 2 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.
Broth for the treatment of weak hair
Weakened, thin, dull hair can be renewed if you rinse them with a decoction of corn stigmas. To enhance the effect, you can take in equal proportions corn raw materials and nettles.
Corn, beans and peppers are the basis of Mexican cuisine, but many other peoples also find dishes from this vegetable. Soups, pancake toppings, pies are prepared from them.
The simplest recipe adored not only by Mexicans is grilled corn. To do this, corn cobs are coated with oil, wrapped with foil and baked for several minutes. It will be easy to cook sautéed corn with onions and green chili peppers. There is an assumption that the ancient Incas prepared salads from boiled corn kernels, tomatoes, green peppers, red beans and quinoa.
But no matter what method is used to prepare the corn, it is important to cook it without salt and not overcook, because after that the grains become too hard.
Corn is one of the most common cereals in the world. It is a source of antioxidants, many vitamins and minerals. Therefore, moderate consumption of this vegetable is very beneficial for your health.