Because sweet corn and popcorn offer high fiber content and a host of vitamins and minerals, both offer a range of health benefits. By themselves, sweet corn and popcorn can deliver improved digestion, lower cholesterol, better vision, and help protect against some cancers, as well as overall well-being.
Eating corn during pregnancy may offer benefits, since corn is high in folic acid and contains zeaxanthin and pantothenic acid—all of which have been shown to reduce the risk of birth defects.
Heart disease—including heart attacks and strokes—is the number one cause of death around the world. According to the American Heart Association, the high concentration of fiber in sweet corn and popcorn can help lower your cholesterol, which is good for your heart.
Corn is also high in antioxidants and potassium, which can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
Eating food rich in antioxidants is known to help prevent cancer, and fresh corn is an excellent source of antioxidants. But a study at Cornell University discovered a bonus: cooking sweet corn actually boosts the health benefits, because heat releases ferulic acid, a phenolic compound found in grains.
Additionally, studies have shown that eating whole grains like sweet corn and popcorn, which are high in fiber, can not only improve digestion, but decrease the risk of colorectal cancer.
The compounds lutein and zeaxanthin help maintain eye health, and can help ward off macular degeneration. One study of 356 middle-aged and older adults found a 43% reduction in the risk of macular degeneration in those with the highest intake of carotenoids, especially lutein and zeaxanthin, compared to those with the lowest intake.
The B vitamins found in corn, particularly B-6, help your body systems function well. Phosphorus and magnesium, also found in sweet corn and popcorn, contribute to keeping your body tissues in good working order.
Corn Silk Health Benefits
Most people throw away the corn silk with the husks, but in traditional Chinese and Native American medicine, corn silk has been used to treat malaria, urinary tract infections, and prostate cancer. More recent research shows it may help reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and inflammation. Like corn, corn silk is high in antioxidants which are beneficial to health. Corn silk may be used fresh, but also dried, in tea, as an extract, and in pill form.
It’s important to keep in mind that studies on the safety and effectiveness of medicinal corn silk are limited. Always consult your doctor before taking it.
Did you know that corn was so healthful? Please tell us about healthy ways you use corn.