Sweet corn is a delicious treat of nature. Whether you decide to have it grilled, steamed or boiled, these sweet and crunchy morsels are a delight either eaten plain and straight off the cob (even better with a dollop of butter) or tossed into salads, pastas, stews and even ice cream. But sweet corn has been getting a bad rep. One of the major peeves that people have about corn in general, is that they are genetically modified (although there is no conclusive research either way on whether GMO foods are actually detrimental to our health). If you would rather play it safe, however, ask if the corn you are buying is non-GMO; alternatively, buy certified organic sweet corn if you can. Just don’t strike if off your grocery list just yet, because this crunchy and sweet vegetable is actually filled with nutrition and a wonderful addition to your meals.
Chock-Full of Nutrients
Sweet corn contains vitamins A, B and C, magnesium, folate, thiamin, phosphorus and the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. Here are some of the health benefits to including sweet corn in your diet. In a nutshell, this healthy grain has the potential to boost your energy levels; ease constipation; regulate blood sugar levels and lower your cholesterol; reduce your risk for anaemia, and support brain function and nervous system health.
Even Better When Cooked
As is the case with tomatoes, cooking sweet corn can actually enhance some of its health benefits. While you do lose some of the vitamin C in the cooking process, cooked corn actually experiences a significant boost in antioxidant properties, which as we have mentioned before, can lower the risks of certain health conditions and diseases. In particular, corn, when cooked, also releases more ferulic acid, which is a type of antioxidant that helps to defend the skin against sun damage as well as signs of ageing, such as fine lines and wrinkles.
Low in Sugar
Because corn tastes sweet, it is a common misconception — and a perfectly understandable one — that corn is loaded with sugar. The fact that processed foods, which contain high-fructose corn syrup, are on the naughty list does not help. But high-fructose corn syrup is drawn from a different corn — field corn — which is used for feeding livestock, making ethanol and for processed foods, such as cereal. But the fact is that an average ear of fresh corn on the cob only has about 6 grams of sugar, which is technically the same amount of sugar in about one-third of an apple! So stick to nibbling on fresh sweet corn, avoid all the other processed corn stuff and you will enjoy all of the health benefits without any of the negatives.
Low In Calories
Not only is this tasty vegetable low in sugar, but a single ear of corn is also only about 100 calories. Along with the fact that sweet corn is fibre-rich (around 3 grams per serving), it is also a complex carbohydrate that is slow to digest. Therefore, eating more corn-on-the-cob can make you feel fuller for a longer period of time, which hopefully means that you will be less tempted to reach for even more unhealthy snacks and other junk food to satisfy you. Which is a really good thing if you are trying to achieve a trim figure.
Good for the Skin & Eyes
Rich in beta-carotene, sweet corn provides our bodies with vitamin A as well as the powerful antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. Vitamin A is essential for maintaining healthy vision and skin; meanwhile, lutein and zeaxanthin are known to lower the risks of eye cataracts and macular degeneration (age-related). Vitamin C and lycopene further protect the skin from the harmful effects of free radicals and supports the body’s production of collagen, helping to slow down the effects of ageing on the skin. Pass me an ear of corn, right away.
Easy Peasy Sweet Corn Salad
Here is a fun and easy salad recipe that perfectly showcases these sweet and crunchy golden nuggets. The ingredients are simple and affordable and are probably already in your kitchen pantry.
You will need:
- 3 to 4 ears of corn (preferably organic), boiled and removed from the cob
- 1 red onion, chopped finely
- 2 tomatoes, deseeded and diced
- ⅓ cup of coriander, chopped
- Juice of a lime (or more to taste)
- 2 tsp of honey
- 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
Add the corn, tomatoes, onions and coriander in a bowl. Mix well. Whisk together the olive oil, honey and lime juice. Drizzle the dressing over the bowl of vegetables and give it a good toss. Grab your utensils and dig in! Feel free to modify or beef up the recipe with other healthy options such as lettuce, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, mangoes and grilled chicken. Enjoy.