Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Corn Comfort

corn 1Monsoons are incomplete without the company of roasted corn, popularly known as bhutta.  Whatever way you decide to have corn—steamed, sautéed, roasted, flaked, popped or in soups–this much is for sure that they are going to tantalize taste buds and deliver nutritional punch too. An important food plant that is native to America, corn is thought to have originated in either Mexico or Central America. Read ahead to know more about this once upon a time wild grass—teosinite’s metamorphosis in the coveted corn of today.

Trivia

 Farmers grow corn on every continent except Antarctica.
 One bushel of corn will sweeten more than 400 cans of Coca-Cola.
 There are about 800 kernels in 16 rows on each ear of corn
 The corn’s cob (ear) is actually part of the corn plant’s flower.
 Lohri bonfires are incomplete until the flames feed on popcorn.
 

Nutritional punch

Looks can be deceptive and corn proves this. The tiny sized kernel is a good source of many nutrients including thiamine (vitamin B1), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), folate, dietary fiber, vitamin C, phosphorous and manganese.
For a healthy heart munch on corn. Not only it has fibre, which lowers cholesterol, but also has significant amounts of folate—a B vitamin needed to prevent birth defects and to lower levels of homocysteine. Homocysteine is an amino acid in the blood. Epidemiological studies have shown that too much homocysteine in the blood (plasma) is related to a higher risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease. Diets rich in folate also reduce risk of colon cancer.

 

Supercharge your memory with corn. Corn is a good source of thiamine, providing about one-quarter (24.0%) of the daily value for this nutrient in a single cup. Thiamine is an integral participant in enzymatic reactions central to energy production and is also critical for cognitive function. This is because thiamine is needed for the synthesis of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter essential for memory, whose lack has been found to be a significant contributing factor in age-related impairment in mental function (senility) and Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, Alzheimer’s disease is clinically characterized by a decrease in acetylcholine levels. Hence, include corn in your diet and your grey cells are going to thank you for this.

Lowers risk of lung cancer. The best way to lower risk for lung cancer is to kick the butt and refrain from chewing of tobacco. If you cannot do this then make friends with corn. It has been found that consuming foods rich in beta-cryptoxanthin, an orange-red carotenoid found in highest amounts in corn, pumpkin, papaya, red bell peppers, tangerines, oranges and peaches, may significantly lower one’s risk of developing lung cancer

Combat stress with corn. In addition to thiamine, corn is a good source of pantothenic acid—the anti-stress vitamin. Pantothenic acid plays a role in the production of the adrenal hormones and the formation of antibodies, aids in vitamin utilization and helps to convert fats, carbohydrates and proteins into energy. This B vitamin is necessary for carbohydrate, protein and lipid metabolism. Pantothenic acid is an especially valuable B-vitamin when you’re under stress since it supports the function of the adrenal glands.

A cup of corn supplies 14.4% of the daily value for pantothenic acid.
Up your antioxidant intake with roasted corn, usually you lose antioxidant content of fruits and vegetables after cooking. Corn is an exception and so are tomatoes. Writing in the Aug. 14 1992 issue of Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, published by the American Chemical Society, the Cornell researchers say that cooking sweet corn significantly boosts the grain’s health-giving antioxidant activity.

How to cut corn off the cob?

In a shallow bowl, hold ears of corn upright and, with a sharp knife, cut kernels from the cobs. Then with blunt edge of the knife, scrape juice from cobs.

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