By: Nikki Nies
American livelihood is heavily dependent corn. Don’t believe me? Think about how many times you’ve eaten corn in the last few months. Some will say none. It’s not corn season, however, corn surrounds us. It’s in almost everything you own and buy. The use of corn is quickly replacing the use of petroleum in the production of everyday products. Non food related, one can find it in paper products, diapers, tires, protective seals, adhesives, toothpaste and aspirin. I couldn’t help but mention those products because that list blew my mind. Really? TIRES?!
For those that eat fast food–let me break down what exactly is in a typical fast food meal meal:
- Soda–corn sweetener
- Big Mac–corn fed beef patty
- Bun–high fructose corn syrup
- French fries–cooked in corn oil
- Thickeners–high fructose corn syrup
So why is corn used in everything? Why’re we so dependent on this single crop? In all honesty, it all comes down to the price. It’s one of the least expensive crops to cultivate and is abundant, with the ability to adapt to many climates and geographic locations. It is the U.S.’ most grown and exported crop, with Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois and Nebraska responsible for more than 50% of the corn production.
Although, commonly mistaken as a vegetable, corn should be categorized as a grain. So let me break down the nutritional value of corn.
- 1/2 cup=80 kcal; 10 kcal from fat
- provides vitamin B, folate, vitamin C, protein and fiber
- **canned corn may contain extra sodium
The best way to reap the benefits of corn is to eat it in its freshest, most natural form. By not drenching it with margarine, sauces or other flavorings, one can obtain the rich flavors that corn has to offer. If one can’t eat the corn au naturale, try spices!