Humans have eaten corn for at least 10,000 years1 . The cereal was such a staple of the Mexican diet that the Aztec goddess of corn and nourishment, Chicomecóatl, was one of their most important deities2.
Sweet corn was introduced to Europe after the voyage of Christopher Colombus and quickly gained popularity throughout the world3.
However, this delicious cereal – which gave the world Mexico’s tortilla and Italy’s polenta – has a dubious reputation at the minute. Although corn is packed with vitamins, minerals and fibre, it can also cause blood sugar spikes4.
In this article, we’ll explain what corn is, and any sweet corn benefits for health. Then, we’ll explain corn’s nutritional value and how you can cook with it.
What is corn?
Corn is both a grain and a fruit. Because corn husks are seeds which blossom from the flower of the corn plant, it’s a fruit5. Corn is also a grain because it’s from the family of cereal grasses, which also includes wheat, rice, and oats6.
Health benefits of sweetcorn
This starchy grain has many benefits for health and wellness. Here’s how corn consumption can support you in a healthy lifestyle:
Encourage eye health
Corn is full of carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which are found within the human eye7. Evidence suggests that eating these can lower the chance of macular degeneration. This age-related disease causes sight loss8. As a result, eating corn may promote eye health.
Promote bowel health
Corn is incredibly rich in fibre, and fibre consumption is strongly linked to a healthy digestive system9.
Nutritional value of corn
An average, 77g ear of corn contains10:
- 8% of your daily vitamin B3
- 12% of your daily pantothenic acid
- 8% of your daily phosphorous
- 6% of your daily vitamin B6
How to cook corn
Ears of corn are easy to cook with, as they’re so versatile; corn can be steamed, boiled, baked, or grilled, on their own, or flavoured with butter and spices. They make a great side dish at a barbecue.
Maize dough can be transformed into a corn tortilla to complement a Mexican dinner and provides more fibre, nutrients, and less fat than a tortilla made with flour. Make polenta fries from maize dough for a healthy alternative to chips that are lovely served with fish and a low-fat tartare sauce.
Last Updated: 25th January 2021
Author: Bhupesh Panchal, Regulatory Affairs
Bhupesh started his career as a clinical toxicologist for Public Health England, advising healthcare professionals all around the country on how to manage clinical cases of adverse exposure to supplements, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, industrial chemicals and agricultural products. After 7 years in this role and a further year working as a drug safety officer in the pharmaceutical industry, Bhupesh joined Holland & Barrett as a Senior Regulatory Affairs Associate in 2019.
In his spare time, Bhupesh likes to cycle and has been learning to speak Korean for several years.