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Cash in on the health benefits of corn

Updated: Jul 3, 2021


Many of us have great summer memories surrounding sweet corn. In the Midwest, when sweet corn is ready, our meals take on a different look as ears of corn make their way to our plates. Some families even have an annual event where several generations get together to spend a day canning or freezing corn. But there’s more to corn than just the version on the cob.


The four main categories of corn are field, popcorn, sweet and ornamental. More than 200 varieties of corn can be found growing in the United States today. Corn is very versatile since the entire corn plant can be used. You can use the husks for making tamales, the silk to create a medicinal tea, the kernels for food and the stalks for livestock feed. You can find corn in products like tortillas, tortilla chips, cornmeal and corn oil. Miniature ears of corn, known as baby corn, can be used in appetizers, soups, chowders, stews and stir fry dishes. Baby corn is particularly popular in Thai and Chinese cooking.

Corn is typically yellow, but comes in a variety of other colors such as red, orange, blue, white, cream, pink, purple, brown and black.


Corn has several health benefits. Because of the high fiber content, it can aid with digestion. It also contains valuable B vitamins, which are important to your overall health. Corn also provides our bodies with essential minerals such as zinc, magnesium, copper, iron and manganese. Corn is a good source of the antioxidants carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, which promote eye health. Since corn is considered a starchy vegetable, people with diabetes need to keep in mind that a ½ cup of corn (or a small ear of corn) contains 15 grams of carbohydrate and counts as one carbohydrate food choice.


Corn can be roasted, boiled, broiled, steamed, grilled or microwaved. You can add it to stews, casseroles, salads or salsa. Try adding corn kernels to cornbread batter for enhanced texture and flavor.

Fresh corn on the cob is best if cooked as soon as possible after picking, but that’s not always practical. Once you have brought the corn home, place the ears in your refrigerator as soon as possible. Cold temperatures slow down the chemical reaction that causes corn to lose its sweetness. Leave the husk on, and let the corn sit in the refrigerator uncovered instead of wrapped up tightly in a plastic bag. It’s best if cooked within three days. Once cooked, corn will stay good for three to five days in the refrigerator and 10 to 12 months in the freezer.


If you’re accustomed to boiling your sweet corn, try a new cooking method. Sweet corn on the grill can be a delicious addition to your meal.

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