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Processing Corn to Remove Bran & Germ Reduces Nutrients

While some processing methods can improve the nutrition of food, some can also detract from it. To see how the nutrients in corn are impacted as corn is processed into cornflakes breakfast cereal, researchers analyzed the nutrient content at 5 points throughout the process (whole kernel, flaked grit, cooked grit, baked grit, and toasted cornflake). The scientists found that a large drop-off in phenolic acid (healthy phytochemicals that have antioxidant properties) occurred after the whole kernel was milled into flaked grits, when the bran and germ were removed. Smaller losses occurred at other points in the processing method as well, but were not as staggering.
Journal of Visualized Experiments. 2018 Jun 16;(136). (Butts-Wilmsmeyer C et al.)

MANY ANTIOXIDANTS IN WHOLE GRAINS

While fruits and vegetables are known as sources of healthy antioxidants and phenolic compounds, research increasingly shows that whole grains contain them too. In this review, researchers analyzed the total phenolic contents, phenolic acid profile and antioxidant activity of several whole grains, including wheat, corn, rice, barley, sorghum, rye, oat and millet. The review shows that whole grains contain a number of phytochemicals (including antioxidants) and significantly exhibit antioxidant activity. Researchers conclude that the consumption of whole grains is considered to have significant health benefits including prevention of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer because of the contribution of phenolic compounds. 
Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. 2014 July 30. [epub ahead of print] (Van Hung P et al.)

Prebiotic Potential of Whole Maize Cereals

Researchers at the University of Reading, England carried out a double-blind, placebo-controlled human feeding study to explore the potential benefits of eating a whole maize (corn) cereal daily. For 21 days, they offered 32 healthy adults either 48 grams a day of a whole grain corn ceeal or an equal amount of a non-whole-grain cereal placebo, in a cross-over fashion, with a 3-week washout period in between. Fecal bifidobacteria levels increased significantly after 21 days of whole grain cereal, as compared to the refined grain cereal, leading researchers to conclude that whole grain corn can cause a “bifidogenic modulation of the gut microbiota” – an increase in beneficial gut bacteria.
British Journal of Nutrition. Nov 2010; 104(9):1353-6 (Epub May 21, 2010)

Whole Grain Corn High in Resistant Starch Satisfies Longer

An increasing body of research shows that resistant starch, a newly-recognized type of dietary fiber found in grains, cold potatoes, legumes and other foods, has many health benefits. Now researchers at the University of Toronto have found that certain whole grain varieties with naturally-high levels of resistant starch may be especially good at making us feel full longer. In the study, 17 male volunteers consumed five different test soups, at one week intervals, after which scientists recorded their glycemic response and their food intake at various intervals over the next few hours. Eating whole grain corn soup with 66% resistant starch content reduced subsequent food intake by 15% compared to eating a high-glycemic control soup.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, February 17, 2010 doi:10.3945/ajcn.2009.28443

Antidiabetes and Antihypertension potential of corn

Scientists in São Paulo, Brazil, studied ten traditional foods native to the Peruvean Andes, to measure healthy compounds in the foods that are thought to manage early stages of diabetes and high blood pressure. Purple corn scored highest in free-radical-scavenging antioxidant activity, and also had the highest total phenolic content and highest alpha-glucosidase inhibitory activity. The researchers concluded that these native foods, including purple corn, could be useful in designing health-management programs for diabetes and hypertension.
Journal of Medicinal Food. August 2009; 12(4): 704-13.

Cornbread ranks high as whole grain source

Children and youth with type 1 diabetes must be especially careful to eat well, but, like other children, have strong likes and dislikes. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School worked with 128 young people, ages 7 to 17, at a diabetes camp, to gauge acceptability of a range of whole grains and legumes. Whole grain cornbread was the favorite (85% tried it and liked it, with another 11% willing to try it) followed by whole wheat bread (72% tried/liked and 3% more were willing to try). Those living in an urban setting or frequently consuming fast food were less willing to try whole grain foods.
Diabetes Education. May-June 2009; 35(3): 422-7. Epub Mar 16, 2009.

Carotenoids abound in Corn food products

Carotenoids are plant pigments that act as antioxidants, and are especially associated with eye health. Scientists at Purdue University studied yellow maize (corn) to better understand the bioavailability of the carotenoids therein.  They found that lutein and zeaxanthin were the major carotenoids, making up about 70% of total carotenoid content. They also found that bioavailability of different carotenoids varied according to the type of foods (breads, extruded corn puffs, porridge).
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. November 12, 2008; 56(21): 9918-26. Epub Oct 21, 2008.

Popcorn intake associated with higher whole grain intake

At the University of Nebraska, researchers examined data from the 1999-2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) to learn whether popcorn consumption was associated with different dietary intake patterns. They found that, on average, those who regularly ate popcorn consumed 250% more whole grain overall (2.5 vs 0.7 servings per day), and about 22% more fiber (18.1g vs 14.9g per day). The popcorn-eaters also consumed fewer meat servings and more carbohydrates.
Journal of the American Dietetic Association. May 2008; 108(5): 853-6.

Advantages of Sorghum over Maize in South African Diets

Sorghum has been widely consumed as a staple food and in beverages throughout Africa. More recently, corn has replaced sorghum in some areas. Researchers from the University of Witwatersrand Medical School in South Africa believe that “the change of the staple diet of Black South Africans from sorghum to maize (corn) is the cause of the epidemic of squamous carcinoma of the esophagus.” They link the cancers to Fusarium fungi that grow freely on maize but are far less common on sorghum and note that “countries in Africa, in which the staple food is sorghum, have a low incidence of squamous carcinoma of the esophagus.”
Medical Hypotheses. 2005;64(3):658-60

Whole Grains High In Antioxidants

Dr. Rui Hai Liu of Cornell and his colleagues discovered that whole grains contain protective antioxidants in quantities rivalling or exceeding those in fruits and vegetables. Corn, for instance, has almost twice the antioxidant activity of apples, while wheat and oats almost equal broccoli and spinach in antioxidant activity.
American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) International Conference on Food, Nutrition and Cancer, November 2004