Corn, is commonly known as bhutta in India and maize in America. It is more accurately categorized as a grain. Maize is the most widely grown grain crop of the America. It is the third most important cereal grain (after wheat and rice) in the world, which provides nutrients to humans and animals.
Corn grows in “ears,” each of which is covered in rows of kernels that are protected by the silk-like threads called “corn silk”.
In Central and Latin America, maize is consumed in the form of maize bread or tortillas. In Africa, ground maize is cooked into a paste or mush and eaten while still warm, accompanied by a thick low-alcoholic beer. In some areas of Africa, maize mush is fried or baked. Maize spread to the rest of the world due to its ability to grow in diverse climates.
There are various varieties of corns that are available in the market and even the same corn crop and same corn is used in various ways. The best example is baby corn or candle corn.
Baby corn or candle corn is a cereal grain taken from corn (maize) harvested early while the ears are very small and immature. It typically is eaten whole cob included in contrast to mature corn, whose cob is considered too tough for human consumption. Baby corn is eaten both raw and cooked. Baby corn i
s most common in Asian cuisine. In Thai cookbooks, it is referred to as candle corn.
Another variety of corn is blue corn (also known as Hopi maize). It is a variety of maize grown in northern Mexico and the Southwestern United States, particularly in the states of Arizona and New Mexico.
One more variety is purple corn. It is turning out to be one of the healthiest foods on the planet. It is loaded with phenolic and anthocyanin, and has an antioxidant rating higher than blueberries. The health benefits of purple corn are pervasive in the body, and it has a normalizing effect on many bodily systems. It can even shrink cancerous tumors.
Other aspects attributed to Purple Corn are:
Favors skin tissue regeneration having an anti-wrinkle effect.
Slows down general degenerative processes due to high concentration of antioxidants.
Prevents cardiovascular diseases.
Increases and stimulates blood, diuretic and digestive circulation.
Sugar rich varieties of corn are known as Sweet corns. These are usually grown for human consumption, while field corn varieties are used for animal feed and as chemical feedstock.
SOME IMPORTANT USES OF CORN
Corn syrup is food syrup, which is made from the starch of maize and contains various amounts of maltose and higher oligosaccharides. Corn syrup is used in foods to soften texture, add volume, prevent crystallization of sugar, and enhance flavor. Corn syrup is distinct from high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which is created when corn syrup undergoes enzymatic processing, producing a sweeter compound that contains higher levels of fructose. In the United States glucose syrup is most commonly made from corn starch.
Another important use is corn oil or maize oil is extracted from the germ of corn (maize). Its main use is in cooking, where its high smoke point makes refined corn oil valuable frying oil. It is also a key ingredient in some margarine. Corn oil is generally less expensive than most other types of vegetable oils.
Corn oil is also a feedstock used for biodiesel. Other industrial uses for corn oil include soap, salve, paint, rust proofing for metal surfaces, inks, textiles, nitroglycerin, and insecticides. It is sometimes used as a carrier for drug molecules in pharmaceutical preparations.
Amount: 1 cup, Weight: 154 g
Proteins 5 g
Water 117 g
Total Calories 132
Total Carbohydrates 29 g
Dietary Fiber 3.6 g
Sugar 7.3 g
Total Fat 1.9 g
Vitamin A 145 IU
Vitamin C 10 mg
Vitamin E 108 mcg
Vitamin K 0.46 mcg
Thiamin 273 mcg
Riboflavin 89 mcg
Niacin 2.7 mg
Vitamin B6 114 mcg
Folate 68 mcg
Pantothenic Acid 1.1 mg
Choline 35.4 mg
Calcium 3.1 mg
Iron 801 mcg
Magnesium 57 mg
Phosphorus 137 mg
Potassium 416 mg
Sodium 23 mg
Zinc 701 mcg
Copper 83 mcg
Manganese 249 mcg
Selenium 0.92 mcg
NUTRITIONAL AND HEALTH IMPORTANCE
- Corn is rich in complex carbohydrate. These are high in fibers. Its insoluble fiber absorbs water.It helps in digestion and prevent the common problems (like constipation and hemorrhoids) by swells the stool and speeds its movement.
- It is a great source of energy. The calorie content of corn is 342 calories per 100grams.
- Corn is rich in vitamin B constituents, especially thiamin and niacin. Thiamin is essential for the synthesis of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter i.e. essential for the memory and deficiency of it can cause impairment in the brain function and may cause Alzheimer’s disease.
- Niacin deficiency leads to Pellagra; a disease characterized by diarrhea, dementia and dermatitis and is commonly observed in malnourished individuals.
- Corn is also a good source of Pantothenic acid which is a vitamin necessary for carbohydrate as well as protein and lipid metabolism in the body.
- Corns also contain vitamin B12 and folic acid which prevents anemia.
- The folic acid in corn is now known to be an important factor in preventing neural-tube birth defects.
- Folate and fiber content of the corn are great for cardiovascular health. Both soluble and insoluble fibers are present in corn; it provides 18.4% of the daily requirement of fiber, which has been shown to reduce cholesterol levels. Thus, prevents the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
- Yellow corn is a rich source of beta-carotene which forms vitamin A in the body, essential for maintenance of good vision and skin. Yellow (but not white) corn is an excellent source of lutein and zeaxanthin
- The kernels of corn are rich in vitamin E, a natural antioxidant essential for growth.
- Corn is a rich source of antioxidants which fight against the cancer causing free radicals.
- In fact, cooking increases the antioxidants in sweet corn. Corn is a rich source of a phenolic compound and ferulic acid, an anti-cancer agent which has been shown to be effective in fighting tumors in breast cancer and liver cancer.
- Anthocyanins, also found in purple corn which act as scavengers of cancer-causing free radicals.
- Consumption of corn husk oil lowers plasma LDL cholesterol by reducing cholesterol absorption by the body.
- It is effective against hypertension due to the presence of phenolic phytochemicals in whole corn.
- Consumption of corn kernels also assists the management of non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM). Also, fiber content of it helps to reduce blood sugar levels in diabetics.
- Corn contains abundant amount of minerals like magnesium, manganese, zinc, iron and copper. It also contains trace minerals like selenium.
- Phosphorus is essential for maintenance of normal growth, bone health and normal kidney functioning.
- Magnesium is necessary for maintaining normal heart rate and for bone strength.
- Corn oil has shown anti-atherogenic effect on the cholesterol levels, thus preventing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
- Corn starch is used in the manufacture of many cosmetics and may also be applied for soothe skin rashes and irritations.
- Corn products can be used to replace carcinogenic petroleum products which form major components of cosmetic preparations.
- Corn oil is an effective component in lowering blood cholesterol levels. Corn oil offers high levels of polyunsaturated instead of saturated fats. Polyunsaturated fats lower blood cholesterol levels.
- Numerous human studies show that diets enriched in polyunsaturated fatty acids can significantly lower elevated blood pressure in individuals with high blood pressure.
- Corn oil is a rich source of linoleic acid, which is one of two essential acids necessary for good skin and hair quality. Linoleic acid is labeled “essential” because it cannot be synthesized by the body and must be supplied in the diet.
- Corn oil is also recognized as an excellent source of tocopherols. Tocopherols function as antioxidants and provide a good source of Vitamin E. The antioxidant activity of tocopherols is important because it helps retard development of rancidity.
- Blue corn contains 20% more protein and has a lower glycemic index than yellow and white corn.
Corn has been an important nutritional resource for thousands of years because of its high protein and carbohydrate content. The sweetness accounts for its popularity among Americans. Its oil has good sensory qualities for use in salad preparation and cooking. And it is one of the most famous and favorite monsoon foods to have in rainy season.