Can corn be digested? (+3 warnings)

In this article, we will discuss If corn can be digested, its nutritional value, and the health benefits of eating corn along with ways to add corn to your diet.

Can corn be digested?

Yes, corn can be digested by the body. Now you must be wondering why do you keep observing corn bits in your poop. Read on if you want to know why does this happen. Corn is an inexpensive and readily available food, this makes Zea mays a staple and one of the most immensely grown crop.

Why can’t we digest corn?

It is safe to say that we can partly digest corn. For this, you must understand corn anatomy. Three of the most important parts in corn anatomy are the endosperm, germ, and pericarp. The endosperm contains about 95-98% of the corn starch, the germ is the embryo and the pericarp is the outer husk that protects the corn kernel.

Our body can easily digest the starchy part i.e the endosperm but it is unable to break down the pericarp because it lacks the necessary enzymes and gut bacteria to do the job. The pericarp is made up of cellulose. The enzyme that breaks down the pericarp is called xylanase and is present in herbivores, birds, and other living beings.

The nutrition profile of corn

Apart from the seed coat, corn kernels hold immense nutrients.

  1. A 100g yellow variety of corn has 96 calories. Corn is high in carbs and scratch is the most abundant carb comprising 28-80% of the dry weight of corn. Sweet corn is relatively high in sugar having contrary to regular corn that has only 1-3% of it.
  2. 9-15% of the dry weight of corn is made up of fiber consisting of hemicelluloses, lignin, and cellulose.
  3. Corn contains 10-15 zein proteins. Zein proteins are considered incomplete proteins but are used for various applications.
  4. Corn contains oil in little amounts i.e. only 5-6%. Corn oil is extracted from corn germ and increases its shelf life as well as lowers bad cholesterol level due to Vitamin E and phytosterol content.

The nutritional profile of popcorn

Popcorn provides a fair amount of essential minerals like manganese, copper, phosphorous, magnesium, and zinc. These minerals are important to maintain good heart health and help in the conservation of body tissues.

The nutritional profile of sweet corn

Sweet corn is known for providing a rich amount of Vitamins like Vitamin B6, niacin, potassium, folate, and B5. All these vitamins are important for cardiovascular health while folate is compulsory during pregnancy to avoid neural tube defects in babies.

The shelf-life of corn

Raw corn on the cob will perish quickly, use within 1-3 days of refrigeration. If you cook the corn, it will extend the shelf life and it can stay fresh for 3-5 days in the fridge. Cooked corn on the cob can preserve its freshness from 10-12 months in the freezer if stored correctly.

Health benefits of corn

Improved Eyesight

Lutein and zeaxanthin, the two important pigments in corn help promote good eyesight.

Disease prevention

The fiber in the popcorn has been found to prevent diverticulosis.

No Gluten

People who are allergic to grains due to their gluten content can safely eat corn.

Is corn harmful?

Phytic acid content

The phytic acid present in corn prevents the absorption of minerals like zinc and iron from the gut. This may lead to the problem of ‘Hidden Hunger’ in countries where maize is a staple food.

If the corn is allowed to stay in the water, germinate, or fermented, phytic acid levels drop.

Mycotoxins

Corn is susceptible to spoilage by mycotoxin during storage. Among mycotoxins that damage corn kernels, fumonisins are the most infamous. Eating corn with traces of mycotoxins can lead to cancer, neural tube deformities in newborns, and death. 

Corn allergy

Corn can provoke a rather allergic response in people with existing allergies like gluten and FODMAP intolerance and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

How to eat corn?

Eat the corn on the cob as it is after steaming or boiling it in the microwave or on the stove. You can season your corn with the herbs and spices to your preference and either grill it, bake it or saute it on the pan.

Add the corn cob pieces in your salad or complement your meat like grilled steak or baked fish with grilled, baked, or steamed corn. You can either remove the corn kernels and use them to make casserole, corn bites, dips, and puddings.

Serve your baked 

Conclusion 

In this article, we discussed If your body can digest corn, nutritional value, and the health benefits of eating corn along with ways to add corn to your diet.

References

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324199#nutrition

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods/corn#downsides

https://www.healthline.com/health/digestive-health/types-of-poop#What-is-the-Bristol-Stool-Scale?

Sana Ameer

Hello, I'm Sana Ameer. I'm a student of Food Science and Technology at UVAS. I like to bake and I aspire to become a Food blogger.

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