What Corn Does To Your Body That You Should Know
Maize is botanically known as Zea mays and commonly called Corn by Americans and English speaking nations. It is a cereal grain grown indigenously in southern Mexico.
The leafy stalk of the plant and the seeds which happens to be the fruits are very nutritious and vital to man and livestock.
Maize is fast becoming a staple food in many parts of the world, with the total world production of maize exceeding that of wheat/rice. Despite this large scale production, a very small amount of this maize is directly consumed by man.
Most of the maize is used for corn ethanol, animal feeds, and other maize products, such as corn starch (pap) and cornflour etc.
Maize is a C4 carbon fixation plant and a more water-efficient crop than most crops that use the C3 carbon fixation mechanism. Thus maize does do well during the raining season than the dry season. It is however sensitive to drought and cold.
Sweet Corn – it has little or no starch with wrinkled translucent seeds. It has a very sweet taste.
Flour Corn – easily grounded to powder as it has soft kernels and starch
Popcorn – this type of corn is characterized by hard kernel with little or no soft starch this makes it explode when heated.
Flint Corn (Indian corn) – this corn has little soft starch
The Nutritional Value of Corn
There is barely any cereal crop that is as nutritious as maize. Its nutrients value is fascinating.
Its nutrient base comprises about 76% water, 19% carbohydrates, 3% protein, and 1% fat. It is also a rich source of vitamin B, thiamin, niacin, pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5), and folic acid.
Maize also supplies dietary fiber and essential minerals such as magnesium and phosphorus in an adequate amount.
Maize has a considerable low amounts of the essential amino acids- tryptophan and lysine, which accounts for its low protein content. However, the protein content of beans and legumes may complement those of maize.
Benefits of Corn to Your Body
- Corn is a good source of red blood cells and hence helps to prevent anemia
- It contains lutein and zeaxanthin which helps improve eye health
- It has also been found to help reduce the risk of cancer
- A good source of thiamine, a nutrient needed for the proper functioning of the brain.
- The oil in maize helps improve hair health
- Prevent cardiovascular disease by lowering your body cholesterol levels
- Improve skin health as it contains lycopene and vitamin C
- An excellent source of calories needed for good body weight.
- Good food for a pregnant woman as it prevents digestion problems
- A good source of antioxidants that help fight against free radicals.
Possible Side Effects
Corn has been known to have a high amount of starch, linoleic acid, and fatty acid and hence eating too much of it could lead to some side effects such as;
- Stomach cramps
- Excess weight gain
- Increase in blood sugar levels
To adequately store maize, the moisture of the grain must be sufficiently reduced to avoid spoilage. Grain dryers are used to reduce the moisture content of grains that are harvested with high moisture content by blowing heated air through the grain.
Uses of Corn
Maize is extensively used for livestock feeds such as cattle and piggery. The green fodder can be fed to cattle to boost milk production.
To be used as fodder, the crop must be harvested when the grains are in their milky and succulent stage.
Maize fodder is easily digested than sorghum, bajra, and other non-leguminous forage crops.
Maize plant does not have any problem of hydrogenic/prussic acid production, thus it can be harvested and fed to cattle at any stage of its growth.
However, the ideal stage of harvest for green fodder is the dough stage where dry matter content and digestibility are more desirable.
Maize is almost an irreplaceable feed source for poultry/birds such as fowl, duck, ostrich, etc. because of its high nutrient content. It is ground coarse and feed to poultry.
Although maize grain is relatively low in total protein and generally low in lysine and tryptophan, this setback can be overcome or supplemented by the addition of animal products or legumes.
The addition of animal and legumes products supply the much needed limiting amino acids (Lysine and Tryptophan) in maize.
On the other hand, legumes that are deficient in methionine can be supplemented by maize grain, which contains an adequate amount of the amino acid – methionine.
This balancing of amino acids is known as protein complementation. The chaff of maize is also a very vital source of feed to poultry.
Maize contains enormous starch. This starch can be milled from maize and used to produce plastics, fabrics, adhesives, food coloring pigments, and many other chemical products.
Maize is increasingly being used as an energy source. There are specialized corn stoves (similar to wood stoves) that uses maize to generate heat. Maize seeds and cobs can be used in furnaces and stoves. Maize is relatively cheap and it’s usage as a biofuel could be very promising.
What Corn Does To Your Body That You Should Know