Do you know which grain crop is cultivated the most next to wheat in the world? It is none other than Corn.
Many people may not accept corn as a complete food simply for the reason it does not have essential amino acids such as lysine and tyrptophan. Also the niacin content in corn is not released in the digestive tract when consumed.
However, these drawbacks do not delimit the many benefits that corn offer to the people consuming it.
Corn is a very good source of folate and thiamine. Also corn is a rich source for lutein, which is a powerful antioxidant that helps in lowering the risk of age-related macular degeneration.
Corn has high content of starch and protein. The lack of amino acids such as lysine and tryptophan can be overcome by supplementing corn with beans and other legumes to make a complete corn meal.
It has been found that a medium cup of corn contains as much as 83 calories. Corn is also a rich source of potassium, thiamine and fiber.
Corn contains niacin in the form of niacytin that cannot be broken down in the human digestive tract. If that niacytin content is broken down, corn can make a good snack or dish with rich fiber. It is for this reason, some sort of alkaline substance such as lime water is mixed with corn before consumption. This release of niacin content in corn will also help a person prevent pellagra.
Popcorn, a variant of corn that grows on a cob smaller than those of sweet corn, is the most popular snack food. The starchy kernels in flour corn, when heated rapidly, converts the moisture in it to steam. When the steam pressure builds to a certain point, the outer shell of the kernel gets burst and the interior shell of the kernel turns into a fluffy mass of starch and fiber many times larger than the original kernel.
This air-popped corn, or simply, popcorn, contains rich fiber content with about 30 calories. However, popping the corn in oil and adding a tablespoon of butter sharply increases the calorie content five-fold.
The importance of corn lies in the fact that it is the most important farm crop that is fed to the cattle, pigs and other animals.
Corn is by far the only farm product that is used in as many as 800 different varieties of processed foods in one form or other, such as corn flakes to name one.