One of the best parts of summer is having fresh corn on the cob that’s in season as part of your barbecue menu. Who doesn’t love the taste of this sweet seasonal staple? Personally, it’s one of my favorites, and my family loves it too. However, many people falsely believe that because it’s sweet, it has little or no nutritional value and shouldn’t be eaten.
One common myth associated with yellow sweet corn is that it is high in sugar. The effect that certain foods have on your blood glucose (blood sugar) is referred to as its glycemic index (GI). Each food has a glycemic index number. A GI of 56-69 is considered a medium score on the scale. Low GI foods fall somewhere below a score of 55. High GI foods have a score of 70 and above and can increase blood glucose levels significantly depending on how much of the food is eaten. Corn has a GI of 52, which is on the low end.
Corn also is a source for resistant starch. Resistant starch both feeds the friendly bacteria and indirectly feeds the cells in your colon and has several other benefits to your gut.
It may reduce inflammation and lower risk of colon cancer. Also, resistant starch may help alleviate a variety of digestive disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, diarrhea, and diverticulitis.
Corn is a whole grain with plenty of flavors when eaten plain without all the added salt and butter. If you do eat yours with butter, try to use only a tablespoon or less to cut back on the saturated fat. Here’s a list of some of the healthy nutrients that are packed into one medium-sized ear of corn:
*Nearly 3 grams of fiber
*About 3.5 grams of protein
*More than 10% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C
*thiamin, which helps to produce energy for the heart, muscles and nervous system
*riboflavin and niacin which helps with the normal functioning of the nerves, skin and digestive system
*magnesium, necessary for optimal cardiovascular functioning
*folic acid also helps healthy tissue growth and helps to prevent birth defects in pregnant women
*1 medium ear has about 111 calories, 1.32g total fat, and 25.86g carbohydrates
WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN BUYING CORN:
Try to buy corn very soon after it’s picked because the sugars in corn convert quickly to starch. Look for a bright, green husk with pale to deep gold silks that are dry, and not soggy or dark. Pull back the shell to expose the kernels. There should be full, evenly spaced rows and the kernels should be plump to the tip.
White corn tends to be more tender. Sweet corn varieties will be sugary but with less corn flavor than other types.
Corn can be stored in its husk for up to four days. It will be sweetest if eaten right after it has been picked. Store husked ears in an airtight container or plastic for one to two days in the refrigerator.
WHAT ABOUT FROZEN OR CANNED CORN?
Frozen and canned produce like corn has gotten a bad reputation for being substandard and not as nutritious as fresh. It is essential to know that corn and all fruit and vegetables are picked when they are at peak ripeness. They’re almost equally as tasty and nutrient dense. Canned corn is the same in that it is packed when it's at its freshest. Both frozen and canned are budget-friendly and help to decrease food waste and are sometimes more cost-effective, depending on the season. Although a fresh fruit or vegetable would never be considered unhealthy, surprisingly there are a few circumstances where frozen and even canned could offer you more health benefits than fresh.