Corn, nutritious and versatile in summer

There is a wide variety of plant-based foods that are very prominent at certain times of the year. An example of this is sweet corn, known as corn, whose harvest season is especially in summer.

The vast majority of Chileans look forward to this time to once again enjoy its flavor, aroma and texture in exquisite humitas or in a cake, preparations that are part of our gastronomic culture.

Although we have this noble food available all year round frozen, canned or processed, in its fresh bulk format recently harvested, it will always be the best nutritional alternative.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the caloric and macronutrient intake in 100 grams of cooked corn corresponds to 108 calories, 25.1 grams. of carbohydrates, 1.3 grs. of lipids and 3.3 grs. of proteins. Not only is it an excellent source of energy, based mainly on slowly absorbed carbohydrates, but it also provides us with dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals.

Its contribution of insoluble fiber promotes proper digestion, preventing constipation, hemorrhoids and colon cancer. Its soluble fiber content regulates cholesterol and glucose levels in the blood, reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Additionally, dietary fiber helps to generate a greater feeling of satiety.

It contains B complex vitamins, such as vitamin B1 (Thiamine), which acts as a coenzyme favoring the metabolism of carbohydrates to obtain energy, collaborates in the regulation of the nervous and cardiovascular systems, and strengthens cognitive function; vitamin B3 (Niacin) that participates in the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and lipids to obtain energy; and vitamin B9 (folic acid) that helps the formation of red blood cells, preventing the development of anemia, participates in the production and maintenance of new cells, and constitutes a vitamin of great importance for women who are planning a pregnancy or are pregnant . It also has pro vitamin A and vitamin E, necessary to strengthen the immune system.

As for its contribution of essential minerals, there are magnesium, phosphorus and iron, and antioxidants such as beta-carotene. In addition, corn and its derivatives such as cornstarch and polenta are an excellent alternative for celiacs, since they do not contain gluten.

Usually, the method of cooking is in boiling water, but steaming or grilling are excellent alternatives with less loss of nutrients.

Due to its versatility, it is possible to consume it whole or shelled as an accompaniment, in a salad combined with fresh vegetables and favoring the use of olive oil instead of mayonnaise; in typical dishes of Creole cuisine such as humitas, corn cake (always without sugar), casserole and other preparations such as stews, puddings and vegetable tortillas.

Being a food with a high content of starch, it is advisable not to consume it in excess or with rice, noodles or potatoes, in order to maintain a healthy weight; and with a recommended frequency is 2 to 3 times a week. Laura Poblete, Director of Nutrition and Dietetics University of the Americas UDLA