Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Corn Numbers

All this corn talk had me curious about the numbers, so I ran them. One ear of white corn, about 6 3/4 to 7 1/2 inches long (Who knows how those sizes were calculated. I can only hope, being the data-lover I profess to be, that someone or something took lots of time to measure lots of ears of shucked white corn to arrive at a reproducible measure of central tendency, so it may be used as a guidepost in this dandy nutritional analysis program.), something between one-half and two-thirds cups of kernels, provides:

No real surprises there, except for the last three, all B vitamins. Apparently, corn supplies between 10% and 14% of the DRI (used to be RDA) for those nutrients. Not bad for around 100 calories - and from a food that isn't enriched, fortified, or otherwise chemically tinkered with, if you discount genetic engineering.

I took a look at yellow corn while I was at it. Nutritionally, it looks like white is similar to yellow, save for a little less carbohydrate (and calories), and vitamin A (provided by the pigment in the yellow variety). I'm guessing the bi-color cob falls somewhere in between. I shouldn't downplay this difference too much - that orange pigment, beta-cryptoxanthin, is a fairly strong antioxidant and has been found to reduce the risk of lung and colon cancers.

Oh well. Beta-cryptoxanthin be damned. Given a choice, I'd opt for the paler of the two.

I wonder what's more popular, the white or the yellow?

(I should have mentioned - beta-cryptoxanthin is fat soluble (as are lots of the pro-vitamin A pigments, e.g. beta-carotene) meaning it's best absorbed when there's a little fat in the belly when you eat it. I'm certainly not defending a butter-slathering ritual, but, well, there you have it.)

No comments: