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Updated: Jul 28, 2020

Throughout much of the world corn is referred to as "maize." Corn is classified as a grain. It comes in many different colors including white, yellow, pink, red, blue, purple, and black. Each different color contains its own unique health-supportive combination of antioxidant phytonutrients.  

U.S. farmers grow about 40% of all corn produced worldwide. Forty percent of all processed, pre-packaged foods sold in U.S. groceries currently contain some processed component of corn most often in the form of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). An increasing trend in U.S. production of corn has been cultivation for non-food purposes (for example: ethanol into gasoline and biofuel production).  

Nutrient Profile: Antioxidant phytonutrients are provided by all varieties of corn. The exact phytonutrient combination depends on the variety itself (each color has a different phytonutrient composition). Corn is a good source of pantothenic acid, phosphorus, niacin, dietary fiber, manganese, and vitamin B6.  

Health Benefits:

  • Antioxidant benefits- Corn is a good source of the mineral manganese as well as different combinations of antioxidant phytonutrients.

  • Digestive benefits- The fiber in corn contributes to supporting the growth of friendly bacteria in the large intestine. These bacteria can transform the corn fiber into short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) which can supply energy to our intestinal cells and thereby help lower our risk of colon cancer.

  • Blood Sugar benefits- Better blood sugar control occurs due to the presence of many complex B vitamins, protein, and fiber.

Selection and Storage:

While purchasing corn in a grocery store, choose from a refrigerated produce bin or from a location out of the direct sun because corn is highly susceptible to microbial contamination upon exposure to heat. Look for corn whose husks are fresh and green and not dried out. They should envelop the ear and not fit too loosely around it. To examine the kernels, gently pull back on part of the husk. The kernels should be plump and tightly arranged in rows.  

Store corn in an airtight container or tightly wrapped plastic bag in the refrigerator. Do not remove its husk since this will protect its flavor. Corn will keep for approximately 3 days.

Recipe suggestion:

Here is a recipe for a delicious, spicy and super tasty sriracha-lime corn salad from Kendra Vaculin.

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