Experts Speak

Food For Thought : Corn OK Please!

Reviewed by

Chhavi Goel

Sweet Corn which is sometimes also known as 'Nature's Yellow Pearl' is a vegetable but is often also called a Cereal too. Flour made from Corn is used as staple food in various parts of the world, hence referred as Queen of Cereals. It is often thought that people with diabetes cannot consume Corn as it is carbohydrate based. But when taken in correct proportions, Sweet Corn is an excellent source of Energy, Fibre, Vitamins - A, B, C & Minerals - Potassium, Magnesium, Iron and Zinc. Since it is low in Sodium and Fat, it is also helpful in keeping a check on Hypertension and Atherosclerosis.

Guidelines given by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) state that Corn can be incorporated into a Diabetes Diet by keeping a track of our daily intake of carbohydrates. Some ways to include corn is by taking boiled Corn Salad mixed with cooked or steamed vegetables, Popcorn, Sweetcorn Soup and more.

Local Names for Sweet Corn

Effect on  Blood Sugar Levels

  • Corn has a Glycemic Index of 52 and a Glycemic Load of 15, categorizing it as a food with moderate glycaemic response which means its ability to increase blood sugar is neither too high nor too low but somewhere in between.
  • Corn contains phenolic compounds like Flavonoids that when consumed help in reducing the risk of Diabetes, while also keeping a check on lifestyle disorders like HTN, Diabetes, Obesity and atherosclerosis.
  • Consuming approx 1 tablespoon of Corn acts as resistant starch which moderates and slows down the responses of carbohydrates and insulin.
  • In a study conducted on a group of individuals having Insulin Resistance, it was seen that those individuals who consumed Corn, had a significant improvement in their gastro-intestinal health.

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Benefits

  • Rich in antioxidants, minerals, dietary fibers, and starch which helps in the slow release of sugar into the bloodstream.
  • Contains phytochemicals and polyphenols, which prevent sudden rise and fall of blood sugar levels and prevent Type 2 diabetes.
  • Promotes the growth of good bacteria in the gut, improves gut health and lowers the probability of diverticular disease.
  • Contains ferulic acid which has potent anti-cancer properties.
  • Fiber content reduces the risk of Cardiovascular disease (CVD) and because it is zero cholesterol, it also reduces Low-density Lipoprotein (LDL) levels and improves heart health
  • Rich source of carotenoids like Lutein and Zeaxanthin which are antioxidants that maintain eye health and lower the risk of Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and Cataract.
  • Antioxidants present in Corn control primary signs of ageing like wrinkles.

Did You Know?

  • The potential benefits of sweet corn is maximum when consumed early in the day at breakfast or brunch than if taken as an evening snack or dinner.
  • Overconsumption of Sweet corn may cause flatulence, diarrhea, or niacin deficiency.

Substitutes

Five Minute Expert Recipe

Garden-Fresh Corn Salad

Ingredients :

  • Fresh or Frozen Corn : 1 Cup
  • Veggies (1 nos. each) : Onion, Tomato, Bell Peppers, Carrot, Ginger, Chilly (optional)
  • Lemon Juice : 2 Tablespoons
  • Seasoning : Pinch of Salt, Pepper, Cumin Powder (Jeera) and Red Chilly Powder (optional)
  • Toppings (Garnish) : Fresh Coriander and Mint Leaves.
  • Other Raw and Cooked Veggies with a Low Glycemic Index (less than 55)  : Broccoli (10), Cabbage (10), Lettuce (10), Mushrooms (10), Spinach (15), Zucchini (15), Cucumber (15), Bean Sprouts (25) and Fresh Peas (48).
Ingredients for Garden-Fresh Corn Salad

Preparation :

  • Boil the Sweet Corn with lots of water till kernels become soft.
  • Drain the water completely and set aside.
  • Finely Chop 1 Onion, 1 Tomato, 1 Bell Pepper, 1 Chilly (optional), Coriander and Mint leaves
  • Grate 1 medium sized Carrot and 1/2 inch of Ginger
  • Add the boiled corn and all vegetables except the garnish into a big salad bowl.
  • Add in a pinch of Salt, Cumin Powder (Jeera), Red Chilly Powder (optional) as per taste.
  • Add in 2 Tbsps of lemon juice.
  • Mix all contents well and top it off with fresh coriander or mint leaves.

Your healthy, wholesome and mouth watering Garden-Fresh Corn Salad is now ready.

Expert Tip

  1. As much as possible, try and use fresh corn that's still on the cob, instead of the frozen bags from the supermarket. Freshly harvested corn has the sweetest, most delicious flavor that diminishes with time.
  2. Struggling to get the corn kernels off the cob? Try this-Lay the corn down on the cutting board. Slice off a strip of kernels lengthwise with a sharp knife, rotate so the flat side is against the cutting board, and repeat as necessary.
  3. Love barbecues? For a smoky flavor, grill your corn instead of boiling it.
  4. Step-up your veggie game. In addition to the raw veggies, double the benefits and include other boiled /cooked Low GI vegetables. Raid the fridge for your favourite veggies and boil or cook them in the same utensil alongside the corn. This not only makes the meal more wholesome, but also helps in reducing the Glycemic Index (GI).
How to remove corn kernels
Getting Corn off the Cob

FAQs

1. How much Sweet Corn be consumed every day?

In diabetes, it is not recommended to consume more than 10 grams of Corn in a day. This can be by either consuming a half-cup serving of cooked or boiled corn (10-15 grams of Carbs) OR one cup of air-popped popcorn (6 grams of Carbs)

2. Are there any side effects of eating Sweet Corn?

Overconsumption may spike the Blood glucose levels. Consider the amount and form in which it is going to be consumed.

3. Is Sweet Corn good for weight loss?

Sweet Corn has an award winning combination of nutrients which make it High in Carotenoids & Fibre, Low in Fat and most importantly-Zero Cholesterol. Hence, Corn consumed in moderate amounts can be beneficial for Weight Loss, Gastrointestinal and Heart health.

Bottom Line

Including corn in daily routine has numerous benefits. But, neglecting the fact that it is high starch edible is not a good idea. Henceforth, the amount of corn you eat is directly proportional to the effect it can have on your blood glucose levels. Hence it is very important to consider the amount of corn and the form in which it is going to be consumed.

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