Corn. Yeah, it really is that good.

Poor corn.  So faithful.  So forgotten.

For generations, corn has been a staple for whole civilizations of people.  Today, however, not many people toot its horn.  Let me change that for just a minute.

One of the most well-known benefits of corn is its huge fiber content.  It has so much fiber that it is really difficult to digest.  A single ear of corn (medium size, about 7″ long) has 3g of dietary fiber.  One cup of corn has 14.3% of the daily needs of fiber.  The insoluble fiber found in corn is great for working on (and preventing) digestive issues like constipation and hemorrhoids.

Anyone who has eaten corn knows how hard it is to digest and has experienced its benefits but did you know that corn also has the following benefits?

  • Corn is a good source of Vitamin C and manganese.  These are both well-know antioxidants that help protect many of the body’s systems and its cells.
  • More recently, corn’s phytonutrients have been documented to be good antioxidants and also to help reduce the risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular problems.
  • Some of the phytonutrients found in corn include beta-carotene and lutein, both of which help keep our eyes healthy.
  • Corn is a low-calorie food that still has enough fiber to actually makes you feel full.  One ear of corn has only 77 calories.
  • Corn is also a good source of folic acid.  The importance of folic acid (especially for pregnant women) was discussed in more detail in a previous post.
  • Surprisingly, there is a decent amount of protein found in corn, with a single ear having 3g.  The best part of the protein found in corn is that it is high quality with a great amino acid score of 83.
    • Let’s see if I can explain the amino acid score without putting anyone to sleep.
    • Protein is made up of amino acids.  The body breaks protein down into its amino acids in order to use them.  There are 9 essential amino acids, or amino acids that the body can’t produce on its own so we have to get them from our diet.
    • Amino acids can only be used by our bodies in specific proportions.  If you have 100% of 8 amino acids but only have 50% of the 9th, the body will only use 50% of each of the amino acids.  This is a simplification, I’m sure, but you get the point.
    • The amino acid score is a number (from 0 – 100) that tells you how proportionately balanced the amino acid in that food is.  By comparison, a sirloin, which is considered a great protein source, has an amino acid score of 94.
    • In other words, corn is a good source of good protein.
  • The high fiber and good protein quality in corn help regulate how quickly it passes through the digestive system.  This benefits blood sugar by regulating the uptake of sugar from the digestive tract into the blood stream.  This makes corn great for diabetics and anyone trying to control blood sugar.
  • Corn just tastes good.

There are many reasons corn is a great staple for our dinner tables.  If you haven’t had the pleasure of eating some delicious corn lately, look up your favorite recipe and have some tonight.

And, of course, with so many amazing health benefits, you know you can find corn in Dee’s Cereal.  You can read a little more about corn and the rest of the ingredients found in Dee’s Cereal on our nutrition page at http://deescereal.com/nutrition/.

Remember, the choices you make determine the life you live

Sources that weren’t knowledge gained from classes, past reading, and life experience: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=90http://home.howstuffworks.com/corn3.htmhttp://nutritiondata.self.com/

 

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Something missing in whole grains?

When researching for a previous post about whole grains I came across some interesting information from the Mayo Clinic.  This is what they had to say:

A word of caution – If all of the grains you eat are whole grains, you may need to take extra care to get sufficient folic acid, a B vitamin. This is because whole grains are not a natural source of folate, and some may not be fortified with folate. Look for whole grains that have been fortified with folic acid, such as some ready-to-eat cereals. Folate is also found in other foods, including fruits, vegetables and legumes. Folic acid is especially important if you’re a woman who could become pregnant or is pregnant.

This got me hunting down information on folic acid.  It turns out the combination of ingredients in Dee’s Cereal helps alleviate some of these concerns about eating whole grains.  But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

The form of folic acid naturally occurring in our bodies is called folate so you’ll see the terms used interchangeably.   It helps with body functions such as cell division and growth.  It also helps in making healthy red blood cells.

Folate is especially important for women who could become pregnant because many of the birth defects that a folate deficiency can cause happen before a woman even knows she is pregnant.  Some of the major birth defects that can occur due to a lack of folic acid are spina bifida (where the spinal cord is left unprotected and nerves in appendages don’t work properly) and anencephaly (where the brain doesn’t fully develop).  This is why doctors recommend that women who could become pregnant take a multi-vitamin, such as a prenatal vitamin, that contains 100% of the daily folate needs, even if they don’t plan on getting pregnant.

If we don’t have enough folate in our bodies, we can also have problems making healthy red blood cells.  Folate deficiency can lead to a type of anemia.  That means that the red blood cells can’t carry enough oxygen or that there is a lower number of red blood cells than are needed to get oxygen to the rest of the body.

Taking pills (including vitamins) should always be done with prudence and normally under medical supervision, but as far as we know, we can’t consume too much folate from food.  I have always preferred to find ways to consume the nutrients my body needs through food rather than having to take a pill.  Pregnant women aside (and those who could become pregnant), the rest of us don’t need quite as much folic acid.  Most of us can get a sufficient amount of folate through our diets, if we pay attention to what we are eating.

Leafy greens are a great source of folate.  Eating legumes, liver, kidney and sunflower seeds is also a good way to get folate in your diet.  We haven’t gone quite far enough as to add leafy greens, liver or kidney to Dee’s Cereal, but we do use garbanzo beans and sunflower seeds…alright, so maybe the sunflower seeds don’t sound so weird but I get plenty of funny looks when I tell people we’ve put garbanzo beans in our cereal.

If you missed the blog on the amazingness of garbanzo beans you can read it here, so I won’t bore you with more of that here.  What I will tell you is that a 3.5oz serving of garbanzo beans will get you 43% of your daily folate needs and the same serving of sunflower seeds will get you a whopping 57%.

I’ve always known that the combination of foods in Dee’s Cereal is what makes it such a great product.  Thanks to the Mayo Clinic inspiring some research, I now know a little more about why that combination is so good.  If we learn to watch what we eat and eat a large variety of foods, we can usually get the nutrients our body needs.

As you enjoy that next bowl of hot Dee’s Cereal or toss that next cup into your favorite recipe, remember that you’re getting an amazing combination of nutrients to fuel your body right.  Eat up and enjoy!

Remember, the choices you make determine the life you live