Cornmeal Benefits : Facts, Uses, Nutritional Value and Side Effects

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Cornmeal is a form of grain that has a finer texture than whole grain. It is made by crushing dried corn in coarse, medium, or fine consistencies. Cornmeal is a superfood that comes in various types. It is packed with the necessary nutrition to fulfill your daily dietary nutritional needs. In this article we will explore cornmeal benefits in detail.

Free from gluten, this healthy food keeps you fuller for a long time. Inclusion of this sweet tasting food in your diet is effective to ward off various types of ailments. It is beneficial for the management of cholesterol, weight, and heart ailments. In this article, we will tell you all about the health benefits of eating cornmeal.

About Cornmeal

Cornmeal is flour that has a coarse texture. It is made from dried maize or corn. It is crushed to medium, fine, and coarse consistencies. It isn’t fine as wheat flour. Traditionally, this food is made using stone grinding that retains some germ and hull of the kernels. Nowadays, it is prepared by grinding corn with steel rollers. These rollers discard a majority of the germ and husk.

Depending on the type of corn, cornmeal is white or yellow in colour. Whole-grain cornmeal has oil, fibrous hulls, starchy endosperm and vitamins. It offers a rich and full taste and contains plenty of nutrition.

Different Types Of Cornmeal

Cornmeal is available in various types. Some of them being:

1. Blue cornmeal

Blue cornmeal is the derivative of whole blue corn. It is violet or light blue in color. It is sweet in taste. The dried kernels are grounded into a medium and fine texture.

2. Steel-ground yellow cornmeal

This type of cornmeal is widely consumed in the US. The germ and husk of kernels are eliminated entirely. If you store it properly in a cool, airtight and dry container, you can preserve it easily for a year.

3. Stone-ground cornmeal

This type of cornmeal incorporates hull and germ. It offers more nutrition and flavour compared to other types of cornmeal. Though perishable in nature, you can preserve this cornmeal for a longer period by refrigerating it.

4. White cornmeal

This cornmeal is popularly consumed in Africa. As the name suggests, white cornmeal is prepared from white corn. It is useful for preparing cornbread in the Southern US.

Nutritional Composition Of Cornmeal

Cornmeal is a storehouse of vitamins and minerals. It is composed of thiamine, manganese, vitamin B6, selenium, folate, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus. Unlike wheat grains, cornmeal doesn’t contain gluten. This makes it safe for people who suffer from celiac disease and gluten intolerance. Cornmeal is an abundant source of fiber. This facilitates the movement of bowel in the body.

100 grams of cornmeal provides around 5% of the calories that you need on a daily diet of 2,000 calories. It provides you around 4% of the daily needs for dietary fiber.

  • 362 calories
  • 19% of the daily value (DV) for iron
  • 30% of the DV for magnesium
  • 17% of the DV for zinc
  • 19% of the DV for phosphorus
  • 6% of the DV for potassium
  • 22% of the DV for manganese
  • 28% of the DV for selenium
  • 21% of the DV for copper
  • 15% of the DV for vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
  • 32% of the DV for vitamin B1 (thiamin)
  • 9% of the DV for vitamin B5
  • 23% of the DV for vitamin B3 (niacin)
  • 6% of the DV for vitamin B9 (folic acid)
  • 18% of the DV for vitamin B6
  • 3.6 grams of fat
  • 8.1 grams of protein
  • 76.9 grams of carbohydrates

The impressive nutritional composition of fiber-rich foods, helps lower cholesterol levels, regulate blood sugar as well as support gastrointestinal health. Cornmeal is a prime source of carbs that works as the key source of energy. It promotes the nervous system and kidney functions.

Cornmeal Benefits for Health

Cornmeal is popularly used in cooking and baking foods. It is made by grinding dried form of corns. The yellow cornmeal is widely available in grocery stores. This superfood is loaded with ample amounts of minerals, carbs and vitamins. Cornmeal serves as a key source of important nutrients that offers numerable health benefits.

1. Prevents Birth Defects

Cornmeal provides a good amount of folic acid that helps in the efficient use of protein. It promotes neural health in babies. Cornmeal is also effective in the prevention of birth defects in the fetus. Due to this benefit, eating cornmeal is beneficial in pregnancy.

2. Promote Nerve Health

A single size of cornmeal offers 8% of thiamine of daily recommended intake. This makes it beneficial in boosting your nervous health.

3. Healthy Cardiovascular state

A single serving of cornmeal helps to fulfill four percent of the recommended daily value of iron, niacin, and riboflavin. Iron helps in the production of RBC and niacin promotes a healthy cardiovascular system.

4. Prevents Cellular Damage

Cornmeal also contains antioxidants like carotenoids in plenty. Eating yellow cornmeal on a regular basis prevents cellular damage due to free radicals in the body. It helps reduce the possibilities of cancer, heart ailment, and macular degeneration.

5. Helps in Celiac Disease

The best thing that makes cornmeal superior to whole grains is that it is devoid of gluten. This makes it a safe cooking element for people who suffer from gluten intolerance or celiac disease.

6. Prevents Constipation

Cornmeal contains a good amount of dietary fiber. A single cup of it provides nine grams of dietary fiber that represents 23% daily fiber intake needs for men and 36% of that of women. The high amount of fiber keeps your stomach full for a long time.

It stimulates peristaltic motion, and the production of gastric juice and bile juice. This makes the stool soft and facilitates bowel movements. Regular consumption of cornmeal alleviates digestive system issues like haemorrhoids, constipation, diarrhea, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

7. A Good Source Of Iron

Cornmeal is an abundant source of iron. One cup of it offers 4.2 mg of iron that represents 50% of the daily dietary need for men and 23% of that of women. Cornmeal boosts your iron consumption and helps in the prevention of anaemia. Iron also contributes to the proper function of the brain. It activates enzymes that are needed for neurotransmitters, and brain cells to communicate.

8. A Good Source of Energy

Cornmeal contains a good source of carbs and iron that together promotes energy. Iron is an important component needed for the transportation of red blood cells throughout the body. It boosts the metabolism by activating enzymes that are needed for the production of energy.

9. Helps Form DNA

Cornmeal is a good source of phosphorus. One cup of cornmeal has around 294 mg of phosphorus that is equivalent to 42% of the daily phosphorus requirements. Phosphorus helps form the DNA that is the critical component of the cell membranes.

This mineral also increases bone mineral density in the body. The cells in our body use it to activate or inactivate enzymes. In this way, getting the right amount of phosphorus supports healthy enzyme operation.

10. Helps In Weight Loss

The weight-loss benefits of cornmeal are linked to the high proportion of dietary fiber in it. It gives you a feeling of satiety and keeps you full for a longer time. Another thing that makes cornmeal a good weight loss food is that it has fewer calories than other commonly consumed grains.

11. Reduces the chances Colorectal Cancer

Corn is a whole-grain food. It has a high amount of fiber that helps reduce the chances of colon cancer for a long time.

12. Protects Your Heart

Cornmeal is believed to possess anti-atherogenic properties that lower the chances of a wide range of cardiovascular ailments. It is the best way to boost heart health. Corn allows the omega – 3 fatty acids to remove the harmful “bad” cholesterol at binding areas in the body. In this way, it reduces the possibility of clogging in the body. It lessens blood pressure and lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke.

13. Provides Necessary Minerals

Cornmeal has plentiful minerals that benefit in a myriad of ways. All the different varieties of corn and cornmeal have magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, copper, iron, with zinc. It also contains the trace mineral like selenium, that is not present in normal diets.

It also has adequate amounts of phosphorus that helps in sound growth and development of bones. In this way, it promotes an optimal kidney function. Magnesium, another important mineral, maintains the proper heart rate and improves bone strength in the body.

14. Lowers LDL Cholesterol

Cornmeal can reduce plasma LDL cholesterol in the body. It does it by reducing the absorption of cholesterol in the body. Due to this action, the amount of good cholesterol increases in the body. This helps prevent atherosclerosis and lowers the possibilities of heart ailments.

15. Controls Diabetes and Hypertension

Studies have shown that eating corn kernels or its ground form i.e., cornmeal can help manage the non-insulin-dependent “diabetes mellitus”. The presence of phenolic phytochemicals makes it effective at fighting against hypertension. This helps regulate the absorption and release of insulin in the body. This action reduces the possibility of sudden spike or drops of insulin levels in diabetics.

16. Treats Hair Loss

Cornmeal is one of the best remedies to cure hair loss. It has an abundance of fatty acids and vitamin E that hydrates and nourishes your hair. The presence of antioxidants prevents the blocking of hair follicles and cellular damage by free radicals. In this way, it prevents premature aging in the body. Moreover, cornmeal contains vitamin K that facilitates calcium absorption, and prevents hair loss.

17. Provides Essential Vitamins

Cornmeal is a vitamin-rich food. It has a high proportion of vitamin B, especially thiamin and niacin. It makes it important to maintain the nerve health and cognitive function in the body. People who suffer from Pellagra, a disease caused due to niacin deficiency can benefit from eating cornmeal.

Cornmeal is also the prime source of Pantothenic acid. It is a beneficial vitamin that improves lipid metabolism in the body. Furthermore, it is also rich in a natural antioxidant named vitamin E that is vital for the development and protection of illnesses in the body.

18. Exfoliates Skin

Cornmeal is a great exfoliator too. Its coarse texture helps remove the accumulated dirt, and dead skin cells from the skin. The result is visibly bright, and soft skin. This makes cornmeal an affordable and potent exfoliator. Prepare a paste of cornmeal and water and apply it on the skin once a week to get visible results.

19. Boost immune system

Cornmeal has ample amounts of beta-carotene that produce vitamin A in the body. This vitamin is beneficial to strengthen the immune system in the body. This is another potent antioxidant that can fight against critical ailments such as cancer and heart disease. Moreover, Vitamin A also improves vision and promotes healthy skin.

Recipes To Use Cornmeal For Beautiful Skin

Cornmeal contains two beneficial antioxidants like Vitamin E and Vitamin A that gives you beautiful skin naturally. It helps you get a youthful, flawless, and nourished skin effortlessly.

1. For a flawless skin

Ingredients:

Mix all ingredients properly. Apply the mixture on the skin. Let it stay for a few minutes. Rinse off with lukewarm water. Finally apply a good quality moisturizer. Do it once a week.

2. For soft and supple skin

Cornmeal, when used with the right ingredients, can hydrate and moisturize your skin. Ingredients:

  • half a cup of cornmeal
  • one tablespoon of honey,
  • two tablespoons of full cream
  • one tablespoon of lemon juice

Mix all ingredients properly and make a thick mixture. Apply it on the skin. Keep it on for fifteen minutes. Wash it off with a mild cleanser.

People who have dry skin can combine cornmeal, wheat germ, and oatmeal in equal proportions in place of only cornmeal. This will give you better results.

3. To reduce excess sebum

This is the best remedy for oily skin. Mix 2 tbsp of cornmeal, 2 tbsp of yogurt and 1 tsp of lemon juice. Apply the mixture on your face. Wait for fifteen minutes and rinse off with cold water.

Culinary Uses Of Cornmeal

Cornmeal, is made from yellow or white corn. It can be made in various ways. Fine, coarsely ground and medium cornmeal are used for the preparation of several dishes. You can consume it in several ways given below to rip Cornmeal benefits for overall health.

  • You can prepare cornbread using it.
  • As cornmeal is sweet in taste and coarse texture, it is a great ingredient in the preparation of cookies and bread. It makes them delicious and crunchy.
  • It is also used to dust the pizza surface before baking it. This helps prevent them from sticking.
  • Use it as a thickening agent for soups and chilis.
  • It enhances the texture of fried foods and makes them even crisper.
  • When added in soups and stews, it becomes thicker and delicious.
  • You can even coat fried foods such as green tomatoes, fish, and chicken with it.
  • Cornmeal is an ideal alternative for flour in your muffin mix.
  • Cornmeal is the staple ingredient in various dishes that includes cornmeal mush, hoecakes, grits, porridges, cornbread, tortillas, fajitas, taco, polenta, and tamales.

What Is The Right Way To Store Cornmeal?

  • Cornmeal is perishable in nature. You can keep it in a refrigerator or a freezer.
  • Properly cover the degerminated form of cornmeal. Store it in a jar at room temperature.

Which Is Healthier: Cornmeal Or Rice?

Both rice and cornmeal are made from dry grain but they have different nutritional benefits.

As per the USDA, 100 grams or 3.5 ounces of cooked brown rice give 112 calories, 0.8 grams fat, 2.3 grams protein and 23.5 grams carbs. The cooked white rice has 2.9 grams protein, 143 calories, and 31.4 grams of carbs.

When compared brown rice with refined cornmeal, the former is the more nutritious.  It has more amounts of antioxidants, dietary fiber, and healthy fats. Brown rice has several essential minerals, and vitamins that include copper, B-complex vitamins, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, and zinc.

In comparison to refined cornmeal, choose unrefined / whole-grain cornmeal as it is more beneficial for health.

Conclusion

Cornmeal has lower carbs and fat as compared to other grains. It also has comparatively more fiber that helps keep your body in the best state. It is a beneficial substitute for grains. Being free from gluten, it is also an ideal option for gluten-intolerant people. Cornmeal is healthy for pregnant women and prevents birth defects in babies. Whether you want to lose weight or become more fitter and healthier, cornmeal is a wonderful food to incorporate in your diet.

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