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.
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