Corn. Friend or Foe?

     It was the best of foods, it was the worst of foods (apologies to Charles Dickens and A Tale of Two Cities). Many people interested in nutrition have a love-hate relationship with corn. Those in the Paleo community will advise against eating corn, along with any other grain. On the other hand, the majority of Americans eating the Standard American Diet can easily get entirely too much processed corn in their diet. Corn oil and high fructose corn syrup are ubiquitous in processed foods. Both of these are made from genetically modified corn and can be very inflammatory to our bodies. In addition, fructose is processed by the liver directly and too much of it, especially from HFCS can lead to a fatty liver.

Because most people reading this blog are at least somewhat aware of the many problems with processed foods, I won’t go into detail in this article about these two man-made food substances. An article by Dr. Mark Hyman discussing the problems with HFCS can be found here.  An article discussing the problems with vegetable oils, including corn oil, can be found here.

   Organic, sweet corn is healthy. 

I believe that sweet corn, which is just now coming into season in our area, can be a nutritious part of a healthy diet for most people. Organic sweet corn is not grown from genetically modified seeds and, in fact, is one the Environmental Working Group’s “Clean 15” which means it was found to have the least amount of pesticide residue.

According to George Mateljan corn is an excellent source of vitamins, B1, B5, folate and C, as well as the minerals phosphorous and manganese. It also is a good source of dietary fiber and carotenoids, especially in yellow corn. Corn loses its flavor and nutritional value relatively quickly, so make sure and get the freshest corn possible and refrigerate it without washing it. Shuck it only when you are ready to cook it and then either steam it on the stove top of cook on the outdoor grill away from the direct flame. Try not to boil corn, because many of the vitamins and minerals will be lost in the water

Watch out if diabetic.  

Corn is a high starch, relatively high glycemic-load food, so if you are diabetic or pre-diabetic you need to test how your blood sugar responds when you eat corn and if it spikes out of range then avoid it. However, eating corn with a fat will lower the blood sugar effect. So for best taste and health value, make sure and slather your corn with lots of organic butter from pasture-raised cows!

So enjoy your corn on the cob with your meal this July 4th!  If you need help determining whether corn, or any other food is good for you, I encourage you to schedule your free, 20 minute phone consultation with me.

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