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How to properly cook and store corn to preserve its nutritional benefits

Oleg ShvetsLS Food
How to properly cook and store corn to preserve its nutritional benefits. Source: Pixabay

CORN IS A GOLDEN TREASURE TROVE OF NUTRIENTS

The season of boiled young corn has begun and the price of this favorite vegetable is becoming more reasonable and affordable.

Corn is one of the healthiest cereals with a rich content of vitamins, minerals, and trace elements. During heat treatment, the kernel shell is not destroyed, and therefore it does not lose its nutritional properties.

Corn began to be cultivated 10,000 years ago in southern Mexico from the wild grass teosinte. Its grains were much smaller than modern corn kernels.

Corn was grown by the indigenous people of North and South America, called maize. Ancient Indians considered it sacred. According to Aztec legend, the Sun God sent golden hail (corn) to feed people.

Christopher Columbus brought corn to Europe. Today, corn is the second largest crop in the world after wheat in terms of acreage and sales. The plant was introduced to the territory of modern Ukraine in the XVIII century from Turkey.

HEALTH BENEFITS

Corn is rich in vitamin C, an antioxidant that protects cells from damage. This vitamin is also a known immunomodulator, improves iron absorption, and has many other health benefits.

Yellow corn is a good source of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which are beneficial for eye health and prevent lens damage that leads to cataracts. Many studies have shown a significant improvement in cognitive function with increased carotenoid intake.

In addition, corn contains vitamins B, E, and K, as well as magnesium and potassium minerals.

Eating corn and whole grain corn products instead of white flour foods improves gut health and reduces the chances of cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes by increasing the intake of plant-based dietary fiber (fiber).

The fiber in this vegetable helps you stay full longer between meals. It also nourishes healthy bacteria in the digestive tract, protecting against colon cancer. And eating corn popcorn, according to research, can prevent diverticulitis.

One cob of sweet corn contains 90 kcal, 3 grams of protein, 1 gram of fat, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, and 3.6 mg of vitamin C.

WORTH CONSIDERING

Corn is a starchy vegetable like potatoes and peas. It contains sugar and carbohydrates that can increase blood sugar levels. Diabetics do not need to avoid corn, but they need to count the carbohydrates they eat.

Corn also contains compounds that prevent your body from properly absorbing certain nutrients. Most of these can be removed by soaking the cob before eating.

Corn is often contaminated with fungi that release toxins (mycotoxins). If you eat a lot of corn with these toxins, it can slow down your immune system and increase your risk of cancer, liver and lung problems.

Sometimes, people with celiac disease (an autoimmune disease of the small intestine that is intolerant to gluten protein) report poor tolerance to corn, even though it is gluten-free.

Some patients with irritable bowel syndrome may experience worsening symptoms, especially after consuming several ears.

Please note: no evidence that genetically modified corn poses any risk to human health. Scientists alter the DNA of corn to make it more resistant to drought or insects or to provide it with more nutrients.

HOW TO COOK AND STORE

Corn can be boiled, steamed, and fried. This vegetable is a hearty addition to soups, stews, and casseroles.

Frying or serving it with butter will add calories and fat. Use a squeeze of lime, a teaspoon of olive oil, and a little chili or smoked paprika for flavor.

Frozen and canned corn is a good substitute for fresh corn. Just check the label to make sure there is no added salt, oil, or cream.

Corn tastes best when consumed within 5 days of purchase. Store husked ears in the refrigerator.

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