Thursday, August 7, 2014

5 Myths Debunked About One of Summer's Favorite Indulgences - Sweet Corn

Sweet corn.  When ever I hear these words I automatically think of mid summer cookouts and fresh corn on the cob cooking on the barbecue.  Sweet corn is one of those perfect summer indulgences that I can never seem to get enough of.  But sometimes this sweet summer indulgence can get a bad name.  Many people have convinced themselves that sweet corn is bad which is a shame because it is such a wonderful treat with a nice nutritional punch.  Here are 5 myths debunked about sweet corn that will hopefully allow you to enjoy an ear or two guilt free.


Myth #1 - Most sweet corn is genetically modified.  

This simply is not true of sweet corn.  While there is a small percentage of GMO sweet corn being grown, the amount is roughly in the 5-6% range.  Sweet corn is often confused with the virtually inedible "field corn" which is highly subsidised and GMO heavy.  While most "field corn" is GMO, most sweet corn is not.  One of the best ways to find out if your sweet corn is GMO is to just ask the farmer or store representative.  The farmer will certainly be able to tell you if they use GMO seeds or not and a store representative should have this information as well.  Also, another sure fire way to make sure it is GMO free is to buy USDA Organic sweet corn.  All GMO crops are forbidden under the organic standards and practices.

Myth #2 - Cooking corn makes it less nutritious.  

In most cases cooking your vegetables and food will decrease the nutritional value of the food BUT in the case of sweet corn the antioxidant activity is increased when sweet corn is cooked.  Cooked sweet corn increases levels of ferulic acid which provides anti-cancer properties.

Myth #3 - Sweet Corn is fattening and loaded with sugar.

An ear of corn has about the same number of calories as an apple (approx. 75 calories) and has less than one-fourth of the sugar.  It can potentially be one of the healthier foods at a cookout.  Just remember that while sweet corn is healthy some of the extra toppings like butter, salt, parmesan cheese and other similar toppings that people like to top their corn with aren't.  Go light on or skip the extras and the corn still remains a nice healthy option.

Myth #4 - Sweet corn has no health benefits.

Sweet corn is loaded with lutein and zeaxanthin which are two phytochemicals that promote healthy vision.  Also, a mid-sized ear of corn also offers up a healthy 3-gram dose of dietary fiber.  It also contains good levels of some of the valuable B-complex vitamins such as thiamin, niacin, pantothenic acid, folates, riboflavin and pyridoxine.  Many of these vitamins function as co-factors to enzymes during substrate metabolism.    

Myth #5 - The human body can't digest sweet corn.

While it is true that the human body can not digest the outer coating of the kernel of corn it is able to digest everything on the inside of the kernel of corn. The part that you see exit your body as part of your fecal matter is actually the part that the human digestive system can't do much with, because we don't have the enzymes (complicated proteins that the body creates) to break apart what the corn kernel covering is made of.  The rest of the corn kernel is easily digested and beneficial to your body.  

So go ahead and enjoy an ear or two of one of summer's best bounties around.  Just make sure to watch the toppings you add to your sweet corn and you have yourself a decent healthy option to munch on at the family barbeque.

Check out my other article on the Wonderful World of Beans and discover another healthy option to add to your weekly menu plan.

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