Go Ahead, Get A Little Corn-y
Enjoy corn to your heart's content this summer and get a bushel full of health benefits.
No summertime BBQ or picnic would be complete without corn on the cob, which is near its peak at this time of year. And although yellow sweet corn may taste the best (and be less expensive) during the summer, it’s a year-round staple of a healthy diet.
Corn is low in fat and is an excellent source of vitamin C. It’s also packed with two antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin, that may help prevent heart disease and cancer. Lutein may be especially beneficial in lowering heart-disease risk, according to researchers from the University of Southern California, who found that it might help prevent hardening of the arteries that can cause heart attacks and stroke.
What’s more, some studies have shown that lutein and zeaxanthin can significantly reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration, and may contribute to slowing the development of cataracts.
When you consider that the average ear of corn has about 800 kernels, it’s not surprising that corn is brimming with dietary fiber and folate, a B-vitamin that helps prevent birth defects. Diets rich in folate can also help reduce the risk of heart attacks and cancer.
Corn contains other B-vitamins in abundance, including thiamin (vitamin B1), which is critical for cognitive function, and pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), which supports the adrenal glands and is particularly beneficial when you’re under stress.
How to Pick Ears
When buying corn, look for ears that have been refrigerated or, at the farmers market or roadside stand, stored in the shade. The husks should be fresh and green—not dried out—and should wrap around the entire ear of corn snugly. Pull back part of the husk and look for plump kernels that are tightly arranged in rows. You can tell corn is juicy and fresh if a white milky substance is released when you press on a kernel with your fingernail.
Store corn in a plastic bag in the refrigerator, leaving the husks on until you’re ready to prepare it. Ideally, you should buy corn the day you’re going to eat it to enjoy this summer favorite at the height of its flavor.
For great corn recipes and summer ideas, browse our boards on Pinterest at Pinterest.com/gwinnettmedical.