Properties and Benefits of Sweet Corn: Sugar corn or sweet corn (Zea mays saccharata rugosa) is a variety of corn that has a higher sugar content than regular field corn. Sweet corn appears as a consequence of a natural mutation of field corn that affects the activity of a gene responsible for converting sugar into starch, thus resulting a sweeter corn variety. Botanically speaking, it is a member of the Zea mays species and is believed to have originated in Southern and Central America.
You might be interested to find out that sweet corn is harvested before it reaches maturity in order for the kernels (the grain or seeds) to have a sweet, milky taste. When the kernels become hard (and the sugar turns into starch), sweet corn is no longer palatable raw. Sweet corn is a great source of B vitamins such as folate, vitamins B1, B3 and B5, but also vitamin C, iron, magnesium, manganese, copper and potassium.
Sweet corn can reach rather impressive heights (about 10 meters), but normally, plants tend to grow only up to 2 meters. It is highly dependent on good weather conditions in order to grow beautifully. Sunny days and good soil moisture are the prerequisites for delicious corn. Each plant produces around 6 cobs that must be harvested while the kernels are still soft or milky.
Sweet corn is considered to be healthy and figure-friendly. The delicious sweet kernels have a moderate to low caloric value: 100 g of fresh or raw kernels supply the body with only 86 kcal. When compared to other cereals such as wheat or rice, sweet corn is definitely the right choice if you want to keep slim. As indicated by its sweet taste, it contains simple carbohydrates such as glucose and sucrose.
Very important: sweet corn is gluten-free which means that it can be safely consumed by people suffering from celiac disease, alongside rice and quinoa. 100 g of sweet corn kernels contain approximately 2 g of dietary fiber, highly efficient in preventing constipation and decreasing the LDL (bad) cholesterol by preventing fats absoption at the level of the intestines.
According to the nutritional table above, sweet corn is a good source of ferulic acid, a phenolic phytochemical with strong anti-cancer properties. It also contains beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and cryptoxanthin, all of which are precursors of vitamin A.
These important complexes work sinergically to maintain beautiful skin, healthy mucous membranes and perfect vision. Sweet corn is also rich in flavonoids which help prevent lung and mouth tumours. In addition to this, it has a decent amount of vitamin C; I cannot stress enough how important this vitamin is.
Besides its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, vitamin C greatly enhances our immune system’s response to bacterial infections and promotes collagen production, probably the most potent skin-healing substance. (Collagen is what prevents us from getting wrinkles and floppy skin.)
Last but not least, sweet corn contains small amounts of thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid and folate, B-group vitamins which promote normal metabolism, macronutrient synthesis and help boast energy levels. It also contains small amounts of essential minerals (calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron and manganese). Overall, sweet corn is a rather nutritious vegetable and a delicious choice for a summer day meal, or snack.
It can be baked, boiled or roasted or frozen and consumed at a time of your liking. If you are an adventurer in the kitchen, you may consider using sweet corn as a main ingredient in a number of more traditional and modern dishes such as: corn on the cob, cornbread, corn and tomato pasta salad, fresh corn risotto, fresh sweet corn salad, etc. It is up to your imagination, and taste buds.