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You can eat your corn and have it

With Funke Oshifuye

The freshly harvested corn emits a mouthwatering aroma from the pot or grille. When cooked with beans, it gives it an entirely different flavor, making beans consumption an unforgettable experience.

Corn is a good source of energy-producing vitamin B1, vitamin B5, and phosphorus; heart-healthy folate and dietary fiber; and free radical-scavenging vitamin C and manganese.

Antioxidant phytonutrients are provided by all varieties of corn. The exact phytonutrient combination, however, depends on the variety itself. Yellow corn is richer in carotenoids, especially lutein and zeaxanthin.

The high amount of fiber present in corn helps lower cholesterol levels and also reduces the risk of colon cancer. Corn, if consumed in moderate quantities, has been seen to be beneficial for diabetics. Rich in folate, corn helps the generation of new cells, especially before and during pregnancy.

Anaemics have shown positive effects after consuming corn. The pantothenic acid present in corn helps with the physiological functions of the body. Owing to the presence of thiamin, corn has been said to help in the metabolism of carbohydrates.

Corn has also been found to be helpful in treating kidney problems, including renal dysfunction. Regular consumption in moderate quantities, has been associated with better cardiovascular health.

The beta-cryptoxanthin in corn makes it good for the health of the lungs and may even help prevent lung cancer. The insoluble fibre present in corn makes it useful for people with digestive ailments like haemorrhoids and constipation.

While corn is a staple vegetable for many people, some may worry about the effects of eating corn and being diabetic. Fortunately for people with diabetes, corn is a nutrient-rich food classified as a starch on the Diabetes Food Pyramid, along with grains, potatoes, peas and beans.

With a glycemic index (GI) of 42, corn is also classified as a low-GI food, meaning that corn raises blood sugar by a relatively small amount.

The healthy effects of eating corn may be negated, however, by consuming the wrong type of corn products. The most common negative effects of eating corn products come from high fructose corn syrup, a sweetener made from corn and commonly found in processed foods.

A combination of glucose and fructose, high fructose corn syrup may not raise blood sugar level as much as regular sugar does, but unlike glucose, fructose does not stimulate the release of insulin or the hormone leptin, which triggers satiety.

High fructose corn syrup, then, leaves people with diabetes in need of insulin to regulate blood sugar and unsatisfied with their meal or snack, resulting in the possibility of overeating. Eating canned corn with salt added, or adding table salt and butter to fresh corn, can cause diabetics to unconsciously consume unhealthy amounts of sodium and fat.

Butter and other fats should be eaten sparingly in a nutritious diet, so adding them to corn and other starches reduces the healthy benefits. Corn is usually roasted, boiled or steamed. Corn can be used to make pap(ogi-yoruba staple food), agidi(eastern region) and tuwo masara(hausa).

Corn syrups, cornstarch and snacks like corn chips contain corn . Corn muffin mix is also gotten from corn which can be used in making corncakes and cornbread.


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