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Corn is a grain that originated in Mexico but is now grown domestically in states such as Ohio, New Jersey, Iowa, and Illinois. Corn is typically harvested beginning in September and through October, but is most tender earlier in the harvesting season. Corn is also commonly referred to as maize and is known to the scientific community as Zea mays. Corn grows on stalks and is enveloped in silky husks that house an inedible cob covered in sweet edible kernels. Corn is commonly enjoyed both on and off the cob; it has a sweet, buttery flavor and a crunchy texture. Including corn in your diet comes with many health benefits; take a look.
Important Note: Each of the claims noted herein is supported by the most current scientific research at the time of this publication.
Corn is an incredibly nutritious vegetable that’s easy to incorporate into your diet. One cob of yellow corn contains just 96 calories but is made up of more than 70% water content, making it very hydrating. Notably, corn is high in dietary fiber and protein, both of which offer unique health benefits. Like most grains, corn is also high in carbohydrates, a fact that gives corn a bad rap; as a result, corn often tops lists of the unhealthiest vegetables. Nevertheless, corn contains other nutrients that make it worth including in your diet. Whole corn is rich in pantothenic acid, folate, vitamin B6, niacin, thiamine, and potassium. Lastly, corn is also rich in antioxidative plant compounds that fend off particular chronic illnesses.
General Consensus: 5/5 and here is why. Although corn may have a higher carbohydrate, sugar, and fat content than other vegetables, it still has many worthy nutrients.
Loaded With Antioxidants
Corn is packed with antioxidative plant compounds that offer you protection from illnesses such as diabetes, some cancer types, and cardiovascular disease. Some of the powerful antioxidants found in corn include ferulic acid and anthocyanins; ferulic acid is used in anti-aging serums, and anthocyanins have anti-inflammatory properties that combat diabetes and heart disease. Other antioxidants found in corn include zeaxanthin, lutein, and phytic acid. Both zeaxanthin and lutein are linked to eye health, while phytic acid helps your body to absorb dietary minerals.
General Consensus: 5/5 and here is why. Corn is a rich source of antioxidants that can help you ward off harmful free radicals that might otherwise lead to disease.
Good for Eye Health
A significant health benefit of eating corn is that it’s fraught with powerful plant compounds that contribute to your eye health. Scientific studies prove that antioxidative carotenoids such as zeaxanthin and lutein protect your eyes from macular degeneration, infection, cataracts, and beyond. Notably, these specific carotenoids reside in the retina, where they protect your eyes from light damage. One compelling study revealed that adequate intake of zeaxanthin and lutein reduced the risk of macular degeneration in middle-aged subjects by more than 40%.
General Consensus: 5/5 and here is why. Quality intake of lutein and zeaxanthin, both of which are found in corn, helps to maintain eye health.
High in Dietary Fiber
The benefits of a high-fiber diet can’t be overstated. Not only is soluble fiber, the likes of which is found in corn, beneficial to digestive health, but it also has a positive effect on weight loss and management. Eating high-fiber foods provide you with a longer feeling of fullness, which in turn lessens the likelihood you’ll consume unnecessary calories between meals. As for digestive health, dietary fiber nourishes the good bacteria in your gut; this can protect against colon cancer and other digestive disorders. Another benefit of a high-fiber diet is that it can help diabetics to better control blood sugar levels; the fiber content contained in corn counters the carbohydrate and sugar content which may otherwise lead to a spike in blood sugar levels. Lastly, dietary fiber has also been connected to a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease and some cancers.
General Consensus: 5/5 and here is why. The benefits of a high-fiber diet are innumerable; corn provides just over 2 grams of fiber per serving.
Good for Circulation
Notably, corn is an excellent source of potassium, a mineral directly connected to the health of your circulatory system. Specifically, potassium is a key nutrient in regulating healthy blood flow and a strong heartbeat. Potassium also slackens blood vessels so that blood can flow freely without pressure. Studies indicate that many Americans don’t ingest enough potassium in their diet, the result of which may lead to high blood pressure. Because high blood pressure is a marker for cardiovascular disease, adequate potassium intake is integral to both circulation and heart health.
General Consensus: 5/5 and here is why. Corn contains 10% of the daily recommended value of potassium per serving; this concentration can aid in the improvement of circulatory functions.
Protects Brain Health
Corn is rich in vitamin B6, a nutrient strongly connected to brain health. Of note, vitamin B6 is essential to the production of serotonin and norepinephrine; these chemicals are responsible for stabilizing mood. Furthermore, vitamin B6 contributes to the manufacturing of melatonin, the hormone that regulates your internal clock, telling your brain when it’s time to sleep and wake. Moreover, corn is fraught with thiamine, containing about 8% of the daily recommended value of this vitamin. Adequate thiamine intake is an important protectant against Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other diseases of the brain.
General Consensus: 4/5 and here is why. Although corn is a good source of both vitamin B6 and thiamine, nutrients essential to brain health, a single serving of corn per day is not enough to sustain brain health.
Unlikely Benefits: Further Research Needed
General Consensus: 2/5 and here is why. Scientists once strongly asserted that popcorn can prevent diverticulosis, but today, there is much disagreement on this point. More research is needed.