One Small Change: Another Old Friend, Corn

Jason Machowsky weighs in on the health benefits of corn.
Related To:

Similar to the potato, corn is another one of those foods that gets a bum rap because of how it’s usually served: fried (corn chips/corn dogs), processed (corn syrup), extruded (many sugary cereals) or otherwise fashioned into foods you never thought were made with corn (ketchup, salad dressing, soda, cookies, bread and more). One can of soda is rich in corn, in the form of high fructose corn syrup, which shocks our body with an insulin-spiking 120 calories of simple carbs, and no nutrients whatsoever. That’s Mr. Hyde.

Yet there is a brighter, more natural side to corn; the one you see when you take a long ear and slowly peel back layer upon layer of its stringy exterior to reveal a yellow, white or multicolored bonanza of kernels that you can eat straight off the cob. Beyond its juicy crunch and naturally sweet flavor, corn’s got some serious nutrients too. Just one cup (the size of your fist) packs 5g of protein, 4g of fiber, and it has a natural source of many nutrients including vitamin A, vitamin C, thiamin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and manganese…all into a 130 calorie package. So grab an ear, Doctor Jekyll is in!

Heck, even popcorn, when not dressed up in lots of liquefied fat and salt (typically found in the store-bought microwavable packages and the movie theater kind), is one of the healthiest snacks around. It provides most of the protein, fiber and nutrients listed above and three cups (three fistfuls) of air-popped popcorn runs only 90 calories. Toss with a teaspoon of melted butter (optional – 30 calories) and your favorite spice (zero calories) to add tons of flavor for minimal calories. Try curry powder or fresh, chopped rosemary, yum…

One final, random tip: At your next Mexican feast, consider using corn tortillas…they usually have less calories than their flour counterparts.

Interested in getting corn back into your cooking rotation? Here are some other tasty uses for the healthier, happier side of corn:

Tell Us:
Dr. Jekyll: How do you like to cook with corn?
Mr. Hyde: Where have you found processed corn where you least expected it?
Keep Reading

Next Up

One Small Change: Your Old Friend, the Potato

Potatoes often get a bad reputation in the health world, but these spuds actually have some great nutritional benefits. The key is preparing them right

7 Ways to Fire Up Summer Vegetables

Just a few minutes of scorching heat will transform any farmers market find into charred, perfectly smoky bliss.

Beyond Butter and Salt: Corn 5 Creative Ways

Get five fresh corn-based how-tos — one from each co-host of Food Network's The Kitchen — to learn top picks for putting this summer staple to work.

Best 5 Corn Recipes

Check out Food Network's top-five corn dishes from the Neelys, Guy, Bobby and more Food Network chefs for easy recipe inspiration.

Summer Picnic Menu

Divide and conquer your next potluck picnic with these delicious and nutritious dishes. Don’t forget the warmer weather also increases the risk of food spoilage, so be sure to keep your food safe by following our simple tips.

30 Days of Corn

It’s the peak of the season for sweet corn. Here are 30 ways to enjoy this summer treasure.

Reinvented: Corn on the Cob 5 Ways

Try these corn on the cob recipes this summer at barbecues, parties and dinner.

Corn On or Off the Cob: Which Do You Prefer?

Food Network Magazine wants to know which side you’re on. Vote in the poll below and tell FN Dish whether you prefer corn on the cob or off the cob.

Market Watch: Sweet Corn

Our previous Summerfest write up on corn got my mouth watering for more of this warm weather veggie. Piles and piles can still be found at my local markets.