Seeds and Cereals

Health Benefits of Corn – Learn All About This Powerful Cereal

The corn is a widely grown food in many countries, being used both as food and for animal feed, because of its nutritional properties.

When we talk about a food that can be multiplied in different recipes, hot or cold, sweet or savory, whether in snacks, lunch or dessert, it is impossible not to remember the popular corn. One of the most consumed cereals in the world, it is also a very nutritious food.

There are several varieties of this cereal, but white corn and green corn compete for preference at our table and in the food industry. And, contrary to what one might imagine, the name green corn is not related to the color of the cereal, but rather to its maturation stage.

The world’s largest corn producer is the United States, which represents 50% of world production, followed by China, India, Brazil, France and Indonesia.

CORN ORIGIN

Corn is one of the most widespread today and consumed crops in the world, along with wheat and rice. But its cultivation before the sixteenth century was restricted to the region of the New World, as the Americas became known at the time.

Records indicate that the origin of corn is in Pre-Columbian America, probably in the region of Mexico and Central America, well before European settlers reached these lands.

In the indigenous Caribbean dialect, corn means “livelihood” and it was the basis of food for several ancient civilizations, such as the Mayans, Incas and Aztecs.

Among the North American Indians, corn was such an important food that, at the beginning of the harvest, the Creek tribe used to perform ceremonies that lasted several days. For them, this stage of cultivation marked the beginning of the New Year.

It was from the 16th century onwards, with the beginning of the colonization of America, that the corn crop expanded to other parts of the world.

CORN IN BRAZIL

An expressive source of calories, corn is the basis of the menu of many peoples in the world, being essential for the survival of countries that have agriculture as their main activity.

Brazil is the third largest corn producer in the world, especially Paraná, followed by Mato Grosso, Rio Grande do Sul and Minas Gerais. Despite the large production, also used for export, only 5% of cereal consumption in our country is on the Brazilian menu. 65% is used to feed livestock.

GREEN CORN OR WHITE CORN?

The name green corn refers to corn whose grains are not yet ripe, but already soft and suitable for consumption, both in the roasted ear and in various dishes, such as pamonhas and curaus. White corn, which is already matured, is used to produce cornmeal, flour, oil and popcorn.

Although very similar, green corn is more nutritious, as it contains a high content due to lutein, carotenoids and vitamins. As for the color, it is important to know that whether it is green corn or white corn, they both have the same – yellow.

FEATURED IN THE KITCHEN

What is not lacking in typical Brazilian cuisine are dishes prepared with green corn. The main raw material of various delicacies, such as hominy, couscous, mush, polenta and popcorn, is also used by the industry to make cookies, ice cream, bread, cornflakes, oil, mayonnaise and beer. Most of these are made with cornstarch, which is the flour taken from the grains. In other words, cornstarch. Green corn is the most consumed in our lands, cooked or as an ingredient in cakes, porridge, mush and porridge, followed by white corn, which is used in the preparation of popcorn, hominy and cornmeal.

HOW TO CONSUME CORN

Whether baked, baked or as an ingredient in cakes, breads and sweets, corn also adds a colorful, healthy and delicious touch to salads, rice, sauces and meats. Because it goes with everything, whether in hot or cold meals, sweet or savory, the dear corn will always be welcome. And what’s better, it costs little for so many benefits and utilities. On average, the price of corn (1kg) is around R$ 1.45.

MAIZE SCIENTIFIC NAME

Old acquaintance of our natives, who called it abati, auati or avati, in the Tupi language, the scientific name of corn is Zea mays .

This vegetable, which is part of the group of angiosperms (plants that produce their seeds in the fruit), can reach up to 2.5 m in height. Its cylindrical ear is located at half the height of the plant and its grains can be of various shades, depending on its variety. The most common are yellows, but they can also be found in other shades such as red or brown. Corn grains have irregular weight, dimension and texture and are arranged in rows attached to the cob.

CORN PROPERTIES

Surely one of the most nutritious foods that is known, corn is rich in carbohydrates, vitamins and proteins and mineral salts. One of its nutritional advantages over rice or wheat comes from the fact that it is consumed with the husk, which is rich in fiber and antioxidants, important for eliminating toxins and protecting the immune system.

Rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants, corn kernels are an excellent source of protein. A cup of corn contains 5 g of protein (5% of our daily needs) and provides essential amino acids for our body’s health.

 

Corn also contains important minerals such as:

  • – Phosphorus – important for tissue growth and maintenance.
  • – Magnesium – prevents heart disease.
  • – Zinc – favors our immune system.

And that’s not all: corn (mainly popcorn) has a large amount of fiber, which helps in the fecal lump and bowel function, preventing constipation.

A popcorn bag, for example, contains about 20 g of fiber, half of our daily requirement. Among its main vitamins are folic acid, niacin and vitamin B6.

Curiosities :

Yellow grain corn has the most lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that are very important for eye health.

Popcorn corn contains the most minerals, while green corn has the most vitamins.

CORN BENEFITS

If you think that the biggest benefit of corn is to make your menu and your life more delicious, know that it does much more than that. Discover some benefits of corn for your health.

1.Benefits of corn on eye health – Rich in the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, it is very beneficial for eye health.

2.Benefits of corn on bowel regulation – Due to its high fiber content, it helps to regulate the bowel, protects the intestinal flora and a feeling of satiety. It also helps to lower cholesterol levels.

3.Benefits of corn in blood pressure control – By converting the amino acid homocysteine, it helps control blood pressure and protects against cardiovascular disease.

4. Benefits of corn for pregnancy – Because it contains folic acid, it is beneficial for women of childbearing age and in pregnancy, as this B Complex vitamin prevents birth defects in the fetus.

THE CORN CROP

The corn planting cycle usually lasts between 115 and 135 days. In the Southeast, the most suitable month for planting green corn is September, but it can happen until November. Depending on the month of planting, the space between rows and the amount of seeds/meter must be varied.

Before fertilizing, make an assessment of the soil where the planting will be carried out. Generally, in the cultivation of corn, the spring rains are used for sowing, as this plant has weak roots and depends on a good amount of water.

As it is resistant to pests, the use of herbicides should only be done in case of need. In Brazil, the most productive regions reach between 250 and 350 bags per bushel. Some even get 520 bags per bushel.

CORN RECIPES

After knowing so much about corn, we arrived at the best part, which is to combine business with pleasure, using this cereal in delicious recipes.

CREAMY CORN CAKE

This corn cake recipe is practical and very easy to prepare. Just have all the ingredients at hand and follow the step by step.

Ingredients:

  • 01 can of green corn (with water)
  • 1/2 can of oil (measure in the corn can itself)
  • 01 can (of corn) of sugar
  • 1/2 can of cornmeal
  • 04 eggs
  • 02 tablespoons full of wheat flour
  • 02 tablespoons of grated coconut
  • 01 1/2 teaspoon full of powdered yeast

How to make:

  • – Mix the ingredients and blend in a blender.
  • – Add grated coconut, yeast and mix well. Place to bake in a round pan after greasing and flouring.
  • – After preheating, bake at 180°C for about 40 minutes and… a creamy corn cake is ready and very similar to mush!

CORN CREAM – RECIPE

Ingredients:

  • 02 cans of green corn
  • 01 cup and a half (tea) of milk
  • 02 tablespoons of butter
  • Half chopped onion into thin strips
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

How to make:

  • – Pour the contents of one of the cans into the blender.
  • – Add milk and beat for about 2 minutes.
  • – Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat.
  • – Add the onion and saute (about 2 minutes).
  • – Drain the water and then add the corn from the second can.
  • – Season with salt and pepper to taste and cook for another 2 minutes.
  • – Add the whipped cream to this mixture and cook for another 5 minutes, mixing well.
  • – Turn off the heat and it’s ready to serve!
  • – Green Corn Cake – Recipe

Ingredients :

  •  03 eggs
  •  02 cups (tea) of wheat
  • 01 cup and a half of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of corn oil
  • 01 cup of milk
  • 01 can of canned corn

How to make:

  • – Mix all ingredients in a blender.
  • – Pour the dough into a greased and floured 12-inch (30 cm) baking dish.
  • – Bake in a medium oven (180°) for approximately 30 to 40 minutes.
  • – Afterwards, just enjoy it for breakfast or an afternoon snack!

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Robert Asprin, APD is a non-dieting Accredited Practicing Dietitian passionate about inspiring positive changes in eating and lifestyle behaviors to help improve health while nurturing relationships with food and body.

Robert Asprin

Robert Asprin, APD is a non-dieting Accredited Practicing Dietitian passionate about inspiring positive changes in eating and lifestyle behaviors to help improve health while nurturing relationships with food and body.

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