Corn: Truly A-maize-ing
My family has always been avid gardeners. As a kid (and still true today) August was my favourite food month. The bounty of fresh-from-the-garden produce is abundant and one of the most delicious choices for me has always been sweet, young corn-on-the cob. At its peak ripeness, golden corn with a light brushing of butter or a sprinkle of fresh lime juice is another wonderful reminder that life is indeed good.
Eaten as one medium-sized fresh cob, corn provides about 160 calories, 32 grams of carbohydrate, 4 grams of protein and 3.5 grams of fat. It is low in sodium (unless way too much salt is added) and is a valuable source of vitamin B6 and thiamin. Corn is a significant source of fibre providing nearly 5 grams per cob.
When fresh corn is turned into frozen kernels or canned without excess sodium or added ingredients, it can be enjoyed as a side dish to a meal. About ½-¾ of a cup of kernel corn is an appropriate serving size. Corn is also a colourful and tasty addition to a Tex-Mex style salsa with fresh tomatoes and cilantro, or black bean salads.
Because corn is sweet and tasty, it can be tempting to eat too much of it. Like most foods, too large of a portion of corn will add up to too many calories. The carbohydrate count is also high when large portions are consumed. Although a great way to add variety to the diet especially when in season, corn is not considered as nutritious as the superstar vegetables in the cabbage family namely broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts and cabbage itself. Corn is not nearly as rich in disease-fighting antioxidants. But it doesn’t have to be avoided by any means. Simply enjoy moderately as part of your usual well-balanced meals and definitely take advantage of the fact that it is currently in season!
High fructose corn syrup (HFCS), widely used in the food industry for its affordability, is a sweetener made from corn. It is common in processed foods ranging from soft drinks and candy to baked goods and soups. As always, when selecting food for your family, read labels Fresh from the garden corn-on-the cob: a fantastic way to eat corn.
P.S. All this talk about corn has me craving one of my favourite snack foods – another corn product, popcorn. I think I’ll go make a bowl. It’s a good source of fibre and not so bad if you go easy on the butter, salt and portion size. How about you, how do you like your corn?