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Nothing Corny About It -- It's Good For You

Cooked sweet corn helps fight cancer and heart disease

FRIDAY, Aug. 16, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- Here's a kernel of good news about sweet corn you can share with friends and neighbors at your next corn roast.

Whether you eat it on the cob, steam it, or cream it, cooking sweet corn unleashes beneficial nutrients that can substantially reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer, Cornell University food scientists report in the current issue of Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry.

When you cook sweet corn, you actually boost its antioxidant activity, their study says.

"There is a notion that processed fruits and vegetables have a lower nutritional value than fresh produce," says lead author Rui Hai Liu, assistant professor of food science. "Those original notions seem to be false, as cooked sweet corn retains its antioxidant activity, despite the loss of vitamin C."

Liu and his colleagues cooked sweet corn kernels in batches at 239°F for 10, 25 and 50 minutes. They found the antioxidants in the corn kernels increased by 22, 44 and 53 percent, respectively.

Antioxidants are substances that protect you against free radicals, which cause damage to your body from oxidation. Free radicals increase the risk of cancer and heart disease and have been linked to age-related diseases such as cataract and Alzheimer's disease.

More information

This article from the BBC's Web site explains why vegetables sometimes are more beneficial cooked than raw.

SOURCE: Cornell University news release, Aug. 9, 2002
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