Healthy Living

Eating Corn Pros And Cons: Potential Health Benefits And Downsides Revealed

Considered as one of the most popular cereal grains in the world, corn is loved by many not only because of its taste, but also because of the health benefits it provides to the body.

Corn is mostly carbs, but it has a low to medium glycemic index. This index is indicative of how quickly carbs are digested in the body. A higher index is not a good sign because this means the food item can elevate blood sugar levels unhealthily.

The whole grain comes in a variety of colors, but the yellow corn is the most common. A 100 gram serving of yellow corn contains 96 calories, 73 percent water, 3.4 grams of protein, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 4.5 grams of sugar, 2.4 grams of fiber and 1.5 grams of fat, according to Healthline.

Corn Health Benefits

Regular intake of corn is said to offer the following health benefits:

Improves Eye Health

Nutrition plays a significant role in the development of macular degeneration and cataracts that are apparently the most common visual impairments in the world. The two conditions also lead to blindness in most cases. However, the carotenoids zeaxanthin and lutein in corn are proven to improve eye health. A study has found that high levels of these carotenoids significantly reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.

Prevents Diverticular Disease

Corn is also said to provide a means to prevent diverticular disease or diverticulosis, which is characterized by pouches in the walls of the colon. The condition manifests through discomforting symptoms like cramps, bloating, flatulence and even bleeding in some cases. An 18-year study conducted on 47,228 men uncovered that men who ate the most popcorn were about 28 percent less likely to develop the condition.

Corn Downsides

Even though corn is generally considered safe for consumption, there are still some concerns to take note of:

Mycotoxins

Cereal grains and legumes are vulnerable to fungal contamination. Fungi are known to produce a variety of toxins. Among which is mycotoxin that poses certain health risks. Studies found that people who eat corn as part of their diet became susceptible to the fungal contamination and the mycotoxins were linked to cancer and neural tube defects.

Antinutrients

Cereal grains contain phytic acid or phytate that impairs the normal absorption of dietary minerals, like iron and zinc. Whole grain corn also contains this compound. Since corn is a staple food in developing countries, many people are at risk of suffering deficiencies involving iron and zinc.

Intolerance

Corn contains the protein zein, which is related to gluten. As a result, it could also pose a problem to people with gluten intolerance or celiac disease. It is important to note that zein causes a milder inflammatory reaction compared to gluten. Nevertheless, experts feel that corn intake could be responsible for persistent symptoms in celiac disease patients.

Corn Corn at a Farmer's Market where locally grown produce is sold in Fairfax, Virginia, (Aug. 13, 2015). Getty Images/AFP/PAUL J. RICHARDS

Loading...
Join the Discussion