Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Kernel of Truth: New Study Reveals Health Benefits of Corn Products

(ARA) - For generations, children have been told to eat their carrots because it was good for their eyes. A new study may have moms saying the same about corn bread, corn flakes and other breakfast cereals.

The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry recently published a new study that shows milled yellow corn products are rich in antioxidants, especially carotenoids such as lutein. Carotenoids are yellow and orange plant pigments known for their association in the prevention of chronic diseases including cancer, cardiovascular disease and macular degeneration.

The study found that milled yellow corn products have a high level of bioaccessibility, which is the amount of nutrients available for absorption by the body after digestion. In fact, the process of milling corn products makes key vitamins and nutrients more easily utilized than from many other foods.

“The available bioaccessibility of carotenoids from milled corn products is as high if not higher than many other foods such as spinach, carrots and tomatoes, which are well-known for their high levels of carotenoid antioxidants,” explains Dr. Mario Ferruzzi, associate professor, Department of Food Science, Purdue University and author of the study.

Milled corn is found in a wide variety of food including corn meal, grits, corn flour, corn flakes and breakfast cereals. In addition to being rich in antioxidants, milled corn foods are delicious, making it easy to get essential nutrients such as carotenoids into one’s diet.

“Vegetables remain an important source of carotenoids but this study demonstrates that consumers of all ages can feel good about eating milled corn products knowing that they provide essential nutrients to keep the body healthy,” says Judi Adams, MS, RD and president of the Grain Foods Foundation.

Here are some easy and delicious recipes using milled corn products to help boost your antioxidant intake.

Corn Bread

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 to 4 Tbsp. sugar (optional)
1 egg
1 cup fluid milk
1/4 cup canola oil

Mix cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar (if used). Set aside. Beat egg. Add milk. Add canola oil. Add to cornmeal mixture and stir just enough to mix. Fill a greased pan half full. Bake at 425 F for 20 to 25 minutes until lightly browned.

Recipe provided by North American Millers’ Association

Golden Almond and Pear Cobbler

6 cups sliced ripe pears (about 6 medium)
1/4 cup almond flavored liqueur (substitute 1/4 cup water and 1/4 teaspoon almond extract for almond flavored liqueur if preferred)
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 cup yellow corn meal
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup ground almonds
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) margarine
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 Tbsp. milk
1 Tbsp. sugar
Heat oven to 425 F. Combine pears, water, liqueur, 1/4 cup sugar and cornstarch; mix well. Spoon into 8-inch square glass baking dish. Bake 10 minutes. Combine corn meal, flour, 1/4 cup sugar, almonds, baking powder and salt; cut in margarine until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in combined egg and milk, mixing until moistened. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto hot fruit mixture. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake an additional 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Recipe provided by Quaker

For more information about the benefits of milled corn products, visit www.grainpower.org.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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