Corn, also known as maize, comes in many varieties and colors. It is the staple food for many countries and is grown all over the world. Sometimes considered a vegetable, sometimes a grain, this versatile food is used and eaten in many different forms. Popular corn options include; cornmeal, corn flour tortillas, corn on the cob, popcorn, corn syrup, cornflakes and as a filler in many other foods. Corn flour is a whole-grain flour with all the added benefits of being whole grain. Corn on the cob brings nice triggers of summer days with fresh corn, lightly salted and lightly buttered, but how nutritious is a single ear of corn?
Nutritional Value of Corn
1 medium boiled ear of corn
Fat: 1g / 2% DV
Carbohydrates: 26g / 9% DV
Proteins: 3g / 7% DV
Fiber: 3g / 12% DV
Thiamin: 0.2mg / 15% DV
Vitamin C: 6.4mg / 11% DV
Folate: 47.4mcg / 12% DV
Health Benefits of Corn
- Corn is a good source of thiamin. This B vitamin helps produce energy for carbohydrate foods within all the trillions of cells in your body.
- Vitamin C is found in corn and works as an antioxidant that slows damage caused by free radicals. It helps protect you from infection and boosts immunity, as well as increasing the rate of wound healing. Corn can be good choice to eat to increase iron and folate absorption. Eating corn with your spinach, beans and grains can improve your iron absorption from these foods because of the vitamin C.
- Although vitamin C will not "cure" a cold, it does play an important role in fighting infections. Extra vitamin C may have a small antihistamine effect, which may in turn shorten the length of sick time and make your symptoms milder.
- Nutrients in corn help reduce bruising by making blood vessels and capillary walls strong.
- Folate, a vitamin found in corn, is an especially important nutrient for pregnant mothers. Adequate intake reduces the risk of delivering a baby with neural tube defects. For everyone else, this nutrient is important for helping make hemoglobin in red blood cells and controlling homocysteine levels. Controlled homocysteine levels are linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Corn is also a good source of fiber. Without lots of chewing, corn can be pass through your GI system undigested, but even if you chew it up well you are still getting 12% of your daily needs for fiber in just one ear of corn. Fiber is important for reducing constipation, diarrhea and removing wastes from the body. Fiber can also help you feel fuller for longer, thereby reducing your desire for food.
Emily DeLacey MS, RD is a Registered Dietitian and currently working in Jamaica as a HIV/ AIDS Prevention Specialist. She attended Central Washington University for her Bachelor's Degree in Science and Dietetics and continued on after her internship to Kent State University for her Master's Degree in Science and Nutrition, with a focus on public health and advocacy. She served as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Malawi 2012-2014 working as a Community Health Advisor in a rural village, immersing in the joys of life without electricity or running water. She has been to 20+ countries and 47 of the 50 states in the US. Traveling, adventuring and experiencing new cultures has made her a passionate advocate for the equality of nutrition and wellness for all people.