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Corn: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Corn is a staple in cuisines all around the world. While many people enjoy corn, many don’t realize that it’s a very nutritious crop. Depending on how it is prepared, corn can provide delicious food that’s good for your health.

Corn Nutrition Facts

Research shows that 1 medium (6 3/4″ to 7 1/2″ long) ear of sweet yellow corn (yields 102g) provides the following nutritions:

  • Calories: 88
  • Fat: 1.4g
  • Carbohydrates: 19g
  • Fibre: 2g
  • Sugars: 6.4g
  • Sodium: 15mg
  • Protein: 3.3g

Carbs

There are 19 grams of carbohydrate in one ear of corn, with fibre making up 2 grams and natural sugars make up 6.4 grams. Corn is considered moderate on the glycemic index scale with a rating that falls between 56–69.2. 

Fats

Corn is naturally pretty low in fat, with 1.4 grams per medium-sized ear. The majority of fat in corn is from heart-healthy monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats.

Protein

Corn has over 3 grams of protein per ear. In comparison to most vegetables, corn is pretty high in protein. 

Vitamins and Minerals

Corn contains the nutrients potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, and selenium.3 It also provides folate, vitamins C and E, and vitamin A in the form of beta carotene.

Health Benefits

Corn offers several health benefits beyond its vitamin and mineral content. Depending on the colour, corn is rich in various antioxidants and beneficial plant compounds that protect against disease. 

Reduces Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Polyphenols are beneficial to plant compounds found in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Purple corn owes its colour to a type of polyphenol called anthocyanin, which has been shown to improve insulin and glucose regulation.

Including a variety of colourful, plant-based foods in your meal plan, like purple corn, is a proactive way to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. If you have diabetes and want to incorporate purple corn into your diet, consider the carbohydrate count. 

May Help Prevent Colon Cancer

Corn is a good source of fibre that promotes “good bacteria” in the gut. These bacteria produce short-chain fatty acids to help prevent colon cancer.

Eating fresh corn, popcorn and checking food labels to ensure that you buy a “whole grain” corn product will ensure that you get the most fibre out of your corn consumption.

The most filling types of snacks are those that are high in protein and fibre, like popcorn. One cup of air-popped and unbuttered popcorn provides 31 calories, 1 gram of protein, and 1 gram of fibre. It makes a perfect snack to help with losing weight or for weight management. Since snacks make up about a third of most people’s daily intake, choosing snack foods wisely can significantly impact body weight.

Popcorn is a whole grain snack that’s minimally processed, especially when you make it fresh. Popcorn without added flavourings, sugar, or large amounts of butter can help with weight loss and healthy weight maintenance.

Protects Eyesight

Corn contains lutein and zeaxanthin, the forms of vitamin A that are especially beneficial for eye health. Because these compounds become concentrated in the retina, they are associated with preventing age-related macular degeneration. The combination of lutein and zeaxanthin, along with vitamin C, vitamin E, copper, and zinc, has been shown to protect against this common cause of vision loss.

Promotes Heart Health

Corn provides several nutrients that offer proven cardiovascular benefits. The fibre in corn and other whole grains helps reduce cholesterol levels. 

Potassium is well-known to keep blood pressure levels down, and corn contains about 6% of the daily value set by the FDA. Potassium is a “nutrient of public health concern” because not everyone consumes adequate amounts of it daily. Corn also has a decent amount of magnesium, about 9-12% of adult needs. 

Consuming sufficient magnesium in the diet appears to reduce the risk of stroke and ischemic heart disease. Eating corn without added salt can help protect your heart from long-term damage.

The above is an excerpt from the article Corn Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits written by Barbie Cervoni MS, RD, CDCES, CDN published in VeryWellFit. 

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