Corn (maize) is one of the most widely consumed grains in the world; just behind rice and wheat. It originated in Mexico about 10,000 years ago from where it crossed over to the United States of America; explorers took corn to Europe in the 15th century and thence to the rest of the world. The United States of America is the largest producer of corn in the world followed by China and Brazil.
The plant grows up to about 3m (10 ft) and is found in different climatic regions, temperate and tropical.
About 60 percent of total production is used for animal feeds, the rest is used for human and industrial consumption.
There are several varieties of corn including Flint corn, Dent Corn, Sweet corn and Popcorn corn. Sweet corn is sugar rich.
Corn can be ground into flour, processed into ethanol, sweeteners, corn syrup, starch and cereals.
Corn contains about 75 percent water, 18 percent carbohydrates (sugar, starch and fibre), 3 percent protein and 1.5 percent fat. Corn is also rich in vitamins (vitamin A and Vitamin B) and Minerals (Potassium, Magnesium, Manganese and Phosphorus).
More importantly, corn has only 86Kcals of energy in every 100gram weight; it is therefore difficult to obtain excess energy even if you consumed 1000grams of it in one day
1. Protects Your Eyes, Helps in Night Vision
Corn contains carotenoid which is converted to Vitamin A in the liver and some vitamin A. Vitamin A is necessary for proper development of the eyes, prevents dryness of the eyes and also ensures night vision, it prevents night blindness. In fact low Vitamin A level in the body can destroy the eyes. Vitamin A is an anti- macular degeneration factor and reduces the risk of premature cataract.
Corn also contains other phyto-nutrient s, Lutein and zeaxanthin which also protect our sight.
2. Prevents Constipation
Corn contains fibre (about 2.5 percent) which is known to ease constipation and also reduces the risk of colon cancer. Fibre also helps to reduce blood pressure but cannot be used on its own to control blood pressure.
3. Fights against cancer
As said earlier, corn is very rich in fibres; many studies in the last three decades have shown a link between increased fibre in-take and a decrease in colon cancer. This could be due to the fibre itself or the nutrients that are usually in fibre-rich foods such as vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and essential fatty acid. Daily consumption of corn while in season is highly recommended.
4. Cares for your skin.
Corn contains a lot of Vitamin c, an anti-oxidant which is known to fight free radicals in our body. Free radicals are partly responsible for the accelerated aging of the cells in our body including the cells of the skin. Corn therefore can slow down the aging of the skin, making the skin fresh and healthy.
5. Helps in the management of type 2 diabetes
Corn contains low glycaemic carbohydrates, they increase the blood sugar when eaten, very slowly; this is very good in the management of diabetes mellitus. Therefore a diabetic could eat it as cereal or as a snack from the cob.
6. Helps to regulate your blood pressure
Corn contains a lot of the minerals, Potassium and Magnesium; the former is known to help the heart and reduces blood pressure. Low potassium can cause Constipation, lack of appetite and poor working of the heart. Potassium appears to relax the blood vessels.