Corn is one of the most widely consumed cereal grains. As a good source of antioxidant carotenoids, such as lutein and zeaxanthin, yellow corn promotes eye health. It’s also a rich source of many vitamins and minerals. Whole-grain corn is as healthy as any cereal grain, as it is rich in fiber and many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Like all cereal grains, corn is primarily composed of carbohydrates. Starch is its main carb, comprising 28–80% of its dry weight. Corn also provides small amounts of sugar.
Despite the sugar in sweet corn, it is not a high-glycemic food, ranking low or medium on the glycemic index (GI) The GI is a measure of how quickly carbs are digested. Foods that rank high on this index may cause an unhealthy spike in blood sugar.
Corn contains a fair amount of fiber. The predominant fibers in corn are insoluble ones, such as hemicellulose, cellulose, and lignin.
Corn is a decent source of protein. Depending on the variety, the protein content ranges from 10–15%. The most abundant proteins in corn are known as zeins, accounting for 44–79% of the total protein content.
Vitamins and minerals
Corn contains a fair amount of several vitamins and minerals. In general, popcorn is rich in minerals, whereas sweet corn is higher in many vitamins.
This popular snack boasts several vitamins and minerals, including:
Manganese: An essential trace element, manganese occurs in high amounts in whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. It’s poorly absorbed from corn due to this vegetable’s phytic acid content. Phosphorus: Phosphorus is a mineral that plays an important role in the growth and maintenance of body tissues.
Magnesium: Poor levels of this important mineral may increase your risk of many chronic illnesses, such as heart disease.
Zinc: This trace element has many essential functions in your body. Due to the presence of phytic acid in corn, its absorption may be poor.
Copper: An antioxidant trace element, copper is generally low in the Western diet. Inadequate intake may have adverse effects on heart health.
Sweet corn boasts a number of vitamins, including:
Pantothenic acid also called vitamin B5, this acid is found to some extent in nearly all foods. Thus, deficiency is rare. Folate, also known as vitamin B9 or folic acid is an essential nutrient which is especially important during pregnancy.
Vitamin B6 is a class of related vitamins, the most common of which is pyridoxine. It serves various functions in your body. Niacin is also called vitamin B3. Niacin in corn is not well absorbed but cooking corn with lime can make this nutrient more available for absorption. Potassium is an essential nutrient which is important for blood pressure control. Potassium also improves heart health.