Maize is popularly known as corn or bhutta, widely found all over the India during summer season (sweet corn) and rainy season (common corn). Corns having high value of sugar are called as sweet corn (used by human) however common corns are generally used for animal feed. It was first originated in the American hills and spread throughout the world to be cultivated.
Benefits of Corn / Maize / Bhutta
Bhutta or maize come under the category of whole grain food having high amount of dietary fibers, low calorie, low fat and good amount of all the essential nutrients. Carotenoids (lutein and zeaxanthin), vitamins and amino acids found in it help in nourishing the body and preventing from various diseases like diabetes, cancer, hypertension, heart ailments, digestive ailments, Alzheimer’s disease, birth defects in babies and so many. Some of its beneficial aspects are described below:
Benefits of Corn for Digestive System
Nourishes Lower Digestive Tract
- Its high availability of insoluble dietary fibers makes it able to nourish the lower digestive tract means large intestine as well as enhances the population of friendly bacteria.
Reduces Risk of Colon Cancer
- It lowers the risk of colon cancer by organizing the functioning of intestinal cells if eaten on regular basis.
Enhances Water Absorption in Large Intestine
- Insoluble dietary fibers regularize the food digestion and prevents from constipation and hemorrhoids by enhancing the absorption of water in large intestine.
Normalizes Bowel Movements
- It normalizes the bowel movements, intestinal peristaltic motion by stimulating the proper production of gastric juice and bile thus reduces the risk of irritable bowel syndrome and diarrhea.
Antioxidant Benefits of Corn
Rich Source of Strong Antioxidants
- It has strong antioxidant property as it contains more than one phytonutrients such as anthocyanins, beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, ferulic acid, lutein, zeaxanthin, vanillic acid, caffeic acid, coumaric acid, syringic acid, protocatechuic acid, hydroxybenzoic acid, protocatechuic acid ad etc.
Reduces Risk of Heart Problem
- Phytonutrients found in it decreases the risk of cardio vascular problems.
Reduces Risk of Hypertension
- It helps in inhibiting the angiotensin-I converting enzyme thus lower down the risk of hypertension.
Benefits of Corn for Diabetes
Stabilizes Sugar Level
- Soluble and insoluble dietary fibers found in it helps in stabilizing the sugar level in the blood vessels by managing the food passage through the digestive tract.
Manages Sugar Absorption in Blood
- High protein content of it manages the digestion of food and sugar absorption into blood stream through the digestive tract thus prevents from sudden rise or down of blood sugar level.
Reduces Risk of Diabetes
- Regular consumption of corn helps in controlling the blood sugar level among people with both type-1 and type-2 diabetes.
Manages Insulin Secretion
- It also manages the secretion of insulin hormone in order to regularize the blood sugar level up to the normal level.
Benefits of Corn for Heart
Reduces Bad Blood Cholesterol
- Soluble dietary fibers found in it help to reduce the bad blood cholesterol level which may lower the risk of heart diseases.
Reduces Risk of Heart Attack
- It antioxidant nature prevents arteries from getting hard thus reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Benefits of Corn / Maize for Weight Loss
Keeps Stomach Full for Longer
- It is a fiber rich whole grain food which makes stomach feel full for longer period of time and manage appetite thus assists in the weight management strategy. However, it is also good to increase weight among underweight people because of its richness in carbohydrates.
Benefits of Corn / Maize for Skin
Soothes Skin Problems
- It has lots of cosmetic benefits for skin because of it antioxidant and phytonutrients availability. It is used in many cosmetic products manufacturing for the topical application to soothe skin problems like rashes, irritation and pimples.
Makes Skin Healthy
- It contains good level of vitamins C and B which is very essential for the healthy skin.
Prevents Skin Damage
- It prevents skin damage from the free radicals produced by the ultraviolet rays as well as enhances the production of collagen to make smooth skin.
Benefits of Corn / Maize Hair
Strengthens Hair Follicles
- It contains lycopene and vitamin C in the form of potential antioxidant thus regular consumption of the corn helps in strengthening the hair follicles.
Promotes Hair Growth
- It also assists in the collagen production which is necessary for the hair growth and maintenance.
Prevents Premature Hair Graying
- Corn oil is also very beneficial for the hair strength and strongness. It is a rich source of the vitamin E which helps in hydrating and nourishing the hair follicles and prevents from the premature hair graying and ageing.
Prevents Hair Loss
- It prevents from the scalp dryness and hair loss by reducing hair damage due to the free radicals.
Improves Calcium Absorption
- Vitamin K found in it helps in better calcium absorption which reduces hair loss.
Makes Hair Soft and Silky
- Applying warm corn oil to the hair scalp makes hair soft and silky as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids found in it reduces inflammation thus keeps scalp dryness free and smooth.
Benefits of Corn / Maize in Pregnancy
Reduces Risk of Birth Defects
- Its richness in the vitamin B9 or folates supports the better growth and development of the cardiovascular system in the babies and reduces the risk of variety of birth defects like neural tube defects and etc.
Boosts Body Energy
- It contains rich amount of B group vitamins which enhances the conversion of carbohydrate into instant energy thus helps pregnant women by instantly energizing them.
Prevents from various Disorders
- It prevents from the heart disorders, muscles spasm and nervous system ailments during pregnancy.
Enhances Blood Hemoglobin Count
- It contains vitamin B12 and folic acid which enhances the blood hemoglobin count and prevents from the iron deficiency anemia.
Other Health Benefits of Corn / Maize
Reduces Risk of Eye Diseases
- It is a food rich in lutein and zeaxanthin phytonutrients which plays great role in maintaining the health of eyes and reduces the risk of age related chronic eye diseases (macular degeneration).
Reduces Risk of Cataracts
- It slows down the development of cataracts and other eye disorders due to the availability of powerful antioxidants.
Source of Vitamin A
- Vitamin A found in it slows down the age related bone loss process and eye disorders. It reduces the risk of early ageing, inflammatory diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, cancer) and etc.
Regulates Growth and Development of Bone
- It contains phosphorous mineral which plays essential role in regulating the normal growth and development of bone.
Rich Source of Minerals
- It helps in strengthening connective tissues, bones, tendons, ligaments, muscles and cartilages as it is the rich source of trace minerals like manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, copper and calcium.
Prevents from Alzheimer’s Disease
- It contains a special substance called thymine which actively involves in the enzymatic reactions, energy production and brain cells functioning. It also helps in synthesizing acetylcholine neurotransmitter for the memory and prevents from the Alzheimer’s disease.
Benefits of Corn/Maize Oil
Maintains Cardiovascular System Health
- Corn oil protects the heart from many problems because of its anti-atherogenic effect. It reduces the cholesterol level and maintains the health of cardiovascular system.
Rich Source of Fatty Acid
- It is the rich source of fatty acid like omega-3 fatty acid which prevents arteries from the damaging bad cholesterol.
Makes Skin Smooth and Bright
- It contains linoleic acid which makes skin smooth and bright if applied topically.
Benefits of Yellow Corn/Maize
Rich Source of Carotenoids
- Yellow corn has high concentration of carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin which acts as antioxidants.
Maintains Eye Vision and Skin Health
- It prevents from the free radicals and other age related health problems. Yellow corn especially contains high amount of beta-carotene which maintains good eye vision and skin health.
Benefits of Blue Corn/Maize
Contains Strong Antioxidant Compound
- Blue corn contains anthocyanins which provide it purple color and acts as strong antioxidant compound.
Reduces Risk of Serious Health Disorders
- It is also very effective in preventing from the serious health disorders.
Benefits of Corn/Maize Flour
Source of Fibers, Vitamins, Minerals and Antioxidants
- It is the richest source dietary fibers, vitamins, antioxidants, unsaturated fatty acids and etc which are required for the good health.
- It is easily available in the market at cheap price so everyone can be benefited of it.
Healthy Diet for Malnourished Person
- It is very healthy diet fully capable to fulfill the needs of malnourished person.
Benefits of Maize/Corn Flakes with Milk
Good for Growing Children
- Corn flakes with milk and some sweetener is very healthy and nutritious diet especially for the growing children to get normal growth and development.
Benefits of Corn Soup
Maintains Water and Minerals Balance
- Corn soup is generally prepared using sweet corn (also called as Indian corn, sugar corn or pole corn) which tastes fantastic during winters season and suitable for all occasions. It has numerous health benefits as it stimulates health and restores necessary water balance in the body. It helps in keeping blood pressure under control. It is low in fat, low in sodium, low in calories and easy to digest food most beneficial during illness.
Nutritional Benefits of Sweet Corn/Maize per 100 g
(Source: USDA National Nutrient Database)
Energy: 86 Kcal
Carbohydrate: 18.70 g
Starch: 5.7 g
Sugar: 6.26 g
Water: 75.96 g
Protein: 3.27 g
Tryptophan: 0.023 g
Threonine: 0.129 g
Isoleucine: 0.129 g
Leucine: 0.348 g
Lysine: 0.137 g
Methionine: 0.067 g
Cystine: 0.026 g
Phenylalanine: 0.150 g
Tyrosine: 0.123 g
Valine: 0.185 g
Arginine: 0.131 g
Histidine: 0.089 g
Alanine: 0.295 g
Aspartic acid: 0.244 g
Glutamic acid: 0.636 g
Glycine: 0.127 g
Proline: 0.292 g
Serine: 0.153 g
Fat: 1.35 g (Including saturated fat, polyunsaturated fat and monounsaturated fat)
Dietary Fibers: 2.0 g
Thiamine: 0.155 mg
Riboflavin: 0.055 mg
Niacin: 1.770 mg
Pantothenic acid: 0.717 mg
Pyridoxine: 0.093 mg
Folates: 42 µg
Vitamin A: 187 IU
Vitamin C: 6.8 mg
Vitamin E: 0.07 mg
Vitamin K: 0.3 µg
Sodium: 15 mg
Potassium: 270 mg
Calcium: 2 mg
Copper: 0.054 mg
Iron: 0.52 mg
Magnesium: 37 mg
Manganese: 0.163 mg
Selenium: 0.6 µg
Phosphorus: 89 mg
Zinc: 0.46 mg
Beta-Carotene: 47 µg
Alpha-Carotene: 16 µg
Beta-Cryptoxanthin: 115 µg
Lutein-zeaxanthin: 644 µg
Select and Store
It should be bought fresh from the market. Exposure to overheat may lead to microbial contamination thus it should be bought fresh which has not been exposed to the heat. It should be bought including husk with fresh and green colored. Always go for the organically grown corns as inorganically grown corns have harmful health effects due to the inorganic compounds availability. It is best to buy and eat fresh corns as it lost its flavor as it gets older. It can be stored for two to three days long in the refrigerator. Well dried corns without husk can be saved at room temperature for year long and can be used as popcorn after roasting.
How to Enjoy
It can be enjoyed eating cooked, steamed, roasted or boiled including with it husk or without husk with the flavor of lemon and salt. It can also be added as a topping in pizza, pasta, snacks, soup, salad, stews, omelets, pulav, fried-rice and etc.
Precautions, Side Effects and Disadvantages
Corn has lots of health benefits however it needs some precautions while eating as over eating may cause some side effects and drawbacks to health. Some of are mentioned below:
- It may be of genetically modified varieties which have insect resistant capacity thus harmful to health as well.
- A type of lipid transfer protein found in the corn is indigestible protein which may cause allergy to some people and develop allergic reactions like nausea, vomiting, headache, swelling, abdominal pain, skin rashes, itching, diarrhea, bloating, gas, migraine, dizziness, fever, urinary tract infection, asthma, breathing difficulty, hypotension, unconsciousness and etc.
- Sometimes it has possibility of infections like fungal and microbial and cause toxicity.
- Canned corns are salted which may cause fluid retention to the body and hypertension. It is harmful for the diabetic, kidney and heart patients.
- It is a starchy food, the over consumption of which may cause weight gain.
- It should be avoided by the person suffering from the diverticulitis (inflammation in small intestine).
How Much Corn to Eat a Day
Corn, even after being a good source of the vitamins, minerals, dietary fibers, antioxidants, it is also rich in sugar and starch which is harmful for the person with diabetes if over consumed. Thus it should be consumed within limit to avoid its negative aspects however, one medium sized corn can be eaten by the healthy person. However, it should be properly consulted by the doctor if already have any problem.