What are the nutritional benefits of eating corn?

Michael T. Murray, ND
Naturopathic Medicine
Although a healthy food, corn by itself is not a nutritionally complete food. The people subsisting primarily on corn run the risk of developing pellagra, a vitamin B3 (niacin) deficiency. One way to avoid this is to eat it in tortilla form. Tortillas contain cornmeal and limestone potash, which facilitate the absorption of B3. Corn is a fine source of vitamin B1 (thiamine). It also is considered a good supplier of vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamins C, E, folic acid, and the minerals magnesium and phosphorus. Corn is considered to be low in protein content, as its levels of the amino acids lysine and trytophan are minimal. However, it is a good source of complex carbohydrate as well as healthful essential fatty acids and fiber.

Various flavonoids and carotenes are responsible for the varying colors of the different varieties of corn. Among the colors valued by the Native Americans were pink, red, black, and blue, and some varieties of corn also had stripes and spots. The concentration of these healthy phytochemicals is found in the outer layer of the endosperm, the nutritive tissue in seed plants. Yellow corn, the predominant corn used today, is high in the carotenoid called lutein. Thus, yellow corn food products can protect against heart disease and macular degeneration, a condition of the eye typically seen in older age; 1.5 mcg of lutein is found in one 31/2-oz (100 g) serving of yellow corn.
Encyclopedia of Healing Foods

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Encyclopedia of Healing Foods

From the bestselling authors of The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, the most comprehensive and practical guide available to the nutritional benefits and medicinal properties of virtually everything...

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Health Value Of Foods

Health Value Of Foods

A healthy diet is rich in foods with high nutritional value, providing your body with the vitamins, minerals and other food nutrients it needs to protect against disease and maintain a healthy weight. To identify healthy foods, it...

's important to read nutrition labels and know the source of your food. Products advertised as whole-grain, organic or fortified may not necessarily be healthy for you. Find out how to get the most health value from various fruits, nuts, spices, oils and vegetables -- and learn which types of red meat and processed foods to avoid -- with expert advice from Sharecare.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.