Five health benefits of corn and a healthy salad recipe

Did the low-carb craze make you banish corn? Well, bring it back! It's a source of fibre and potassium, and it's in season right now.

Julie Daniluk

Corn got a bad reputation when low-carb diets became popular, but it’s important to remember that there is a big difference between high-fructose corn syrup and an ear of fresh corn. When you eat a large-sized ear, you consume 4.5 grams of fibre, which slows down how quickly you digest starch, with the corn. Starches break down into sugars in your mouth and raise your blood sugar more quickly than is ideal. That is why low-fibre corn cereals aren’t ideal, but whole kernels of corn are a healthy choice.

When you’re shopping, look for organically grown corn to ensure you’re eating the healthiest choice for you and the environment. Conventional corn has often been genetically modified to contain BT (Bacillus thuringiensis), which kills flying insects. Environmentalists are concerned that while BT is effective at killing pests like the corn borer, it may also affect other, ecologically important flying insects like butterflies and bees.

Corn has been staple food in human diets for 8000 years — its freshness peaks in late summer, so here are five reasons why you should enjoy corn today:

1. Up your insoluble-fibre intake with corn: A diet high in insoluble fibre can reduce the risk of developing certain cancers, including laryngeal and colon. Keeping your digestive system clear helps to eliminate the toxins we’re exposed to daily.

2. Cornsilk may prevent urinary tract infections:
The silky husks on corn cobs have a long history in traditional herbal medicine as a treatment and prevention aid for urinary tract infections. Cornsilk is also a diuretic and is used therapeutically to treat hypertension.

3. Corn is high in carotenoids: Carotenoids are antioxidants in the vitamin-A family that eliminate free radicals from the body and help our cells stay strong and healthy. Corn is especially high in beta-cryptoxanthin, which could be particularly depleted if you’re regularly exposed to cigarette smoke.

4. It’s a great source of potassium: Potassium has been researched in hypertension prevention, but recent studies show that the mineral is also important in preventing tooth decay and periodontal disease.

5. Eat corn to get folic acid: Along with its role in preventing neural tube defects during pregnancy, folic acid has been used in clinical trials as an alternative treatment for depression symptoms. Please consult your health care professional before introducing new therapies into your treatment regimen.

Julie Daniluk corn salad recipe

Mint corn salad

1/2 cup fresh mint
4 scallions, thinly sliced into rings
3 cups fresh corn kernels, removed from the cob
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup cucumber, sliced
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.

2. Toss to coat; serve immediately or refrigerate.
Makes six servings

Nutritionist Julie Daniluk hosts Healthy Gourmet, a reality cooking show that looks at the ongoing battle between taste and nutrition. Her soon-to-be-published first book, Meals That Heal Inflammation, advises on allergy-free foods that both taste great and assist the body in the healing process.

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