11 Impressive Benefits of Corn

Originally Published on Organicfacts.net By Meenakshi Nagdeve

11 Impressive Benefits of Corn

Health benefits of corn include diabetes management and prevention of chronic heart conditions, lower blood pressure, and also reduction in the neural-tube defects at birth. Corn or maize is one of the most popular cereals in the world and forms the staple food in many countries.

What is Corn?

Corn or maize is a grain plant that originated in southern Mexico. The kernels or seeds of corn hold the majority of its nutrients and are the most commonly consumed parts. They come in multiple colors, depending on where the it is grown and what species or variety they happen to be. Another genetic variant, called sweetcorn, has more sugar and less starch in the nutritive material.

Nutrition Facts

According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, corn not only provides the necessary calories for healthy, daily metabolism but is also a rich source of vitamin A, B, E, and many minerals. Its high dietary fiber content ensures that it plays a significant role in the prevention of digestive ailments like constipation. The antioxidants present in it also act as anti-carcinogenic agents and prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

Health Benefits of Corn

Corn provides many health benefits due to the presence of quality nutrients within. Besides being a delicious addition to any meal, it’s richness in phytochemicals provides protection against a number of chronic diseases. The well-researched and widespread health benefits are listed below.

Prevents Hemorrhoids

The fiber content of one cup of corn amounts to 18.4% of the daily recommended amount. This aids in alleviating digestive problems such as constipation and hemorrhoids, as well as lowering the risk of colon cancer due to corn being a whole-grain.

A study by Dr. Arthur Schatzkin, former chief of the nutritional epidemiology branch at the US National Cancer Institute (NCI) concludes, “Total dietary fiber intake is not associated with colorectal cancer risk, whereas whole-grain consumption is associated with a modestly reduced risk.” Dietary fiber can help bulk and soften stools promoting regular elimination and decreasing straining. This process is done by stimulating the peristaltic motion and the production of gastric juice and bile. By adding bulk to overly loose stools, the chances for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and diarrhea can be greatly reduced.

Promotes Growth

Corn is rich in vitamin B constituents, especially thiamin and niacin. Thiamin is essential for maintaining nerve health and cognitive function. Niacin deficiency leads to pellagra; a disease characterized by diarrhea, dementia, and dermatitis that is commonly observed in malnourished individuals. It is also a good source of pantothenic acid, which is an essential vitamin for carbohydrate, protein, and lipid metabolism in the body.

Deficiency of folic acid in pregnant women can lead to the birth of underweight infants and may also result in neural tube defects in newborns. It provides a significant percentage of the daily folate requirement, thus preventing this condition. The kernels are also rich in vitamin E, a natural antioxidant that is essential for growth and protection of the body from illness and diseases.

Weight Gain

Corn, especially the yellow variety, is a rich source of calories and is a staple in many places. The calorific content of yellow and white corn is 365 calories per 100 grams, while the calorie content in sweet yellow and white corn is 86 calories per 100 grams. This is why, it is often turned to for quick weight gain, and combined with the ease and flexibility of the growing conditions, the high-calorie content makes it vital for the survival of dozens of agricultural nations.

Provides Essential Minerals

Corn contains abundant minerals which positively benefit the body in a number of ways, says a study conducted by Dr. Phil Warman, Nova Scotia Agricultural College, Canada. Phosphorus, along with magnesium, manganese, zinc, iron, and copper are some of the essential nutrients that are found in all varieties of corn. It also contains trace minerals like selenium, which are difficult to find in most normal diets. Phosphorus is essential for regulating normal growth, bone health, and optimal kidney functioning. Magnesium is necessary for maintaining a normal heart rate and for increasing bone mineral density.

Protects Your Heart

According to research, corn oil has been shown to have an anti-atherogenic effect on cholesterol levels, thus reducing the risk of various cardiovascular diseases. Corn oil, in particular, is the best way to improve heart health and this is derived from the fact that corn is close to an optimal fatty acid combination. This allows omega-3 fatty acids to strip away the damaging LDL or bad cholesterol and replace them at the binding sites. This will reduce the chances of arteries becoming clogged, lower blood pressure, and minimize the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Prevents Anemia

Corn helps prevent anemia caused by a deficiency of vitamins and minerals. It also contains iron, which is one of the essential minerals needed to form new red blood cells; a deficiency of iron is one of the main causes of anemia as well. Studies have also been conducted connecting Vitamin A and beta carotene with increased absorption of iron.

Lowers LDL Cholesterol

According to a study by Dr. Robert Nicolosi, University of Massachusetts, US, consumption of corn husk oil lowers plasma LDL or bad cholesterol by reducing cholesterol absorption in the body. As mentioned earlier, this reduction in LDL cholesterol does not mean a reduction in HDL or good cholesterol, which can have beneficial effects on the body. They include the reduction of heart diseases, prevention of atherosclerosis, and general scavenging of free radicals throughout the body.

Eye & Skin Care

Yellow corn is a rich source of beta-carotene, which forms vitamin A in the body and is essential for the maintenance of good vision and skin. As per a study published in the Science journal, beta-carotene is a great source of vitamin A because it is converted into the body according to the amount required. Vitamin A can be toxic if too much is consumed, so deriving it through beta-carotene transformation is ideal. It will also benefit the health of skin and mucous membranes, as well as boost the immune system.

The amount of beta-carotene in the body that is not converted into vitamin A acts as a very strong antioxidant, like all carotenoids, and can combat diseases like cancer and heart disease. That being said, smokers need to be careful about their beta-carotene intake, because smokers with high beta-carotene levels are more likely to contract lung cancer, while non-smokers with high beta-carotene content are less likely to contract lung cancer.

Controls Diabetes

In recent decades, the world has seemed to suffer from an epidemic of diabetes. Although the exact mechanism for this cannot be pinpointed, it is generally related to nutrition. Studies have shown that consumption of whole grains is related to a decreased risk in the development of type 2 diabetes. According to the Journal of Medicinal Food, consumption of its kernels assists in the management of non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) and is effective against hypertension due to the presence of phenolic phytochemicals in whole corn. Phytochemicals can regulate the absorption and release of insulin in the body, which can reduce the chance of spikes and drops for diabetic patients and help them maintain a healthy lifestyle.

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Cosmetic Benefits

Cornstarch is used in the manufacturing of many cosmetic products and may also be applied topically to soothe skin rashes and irritation. Its products can be used to replace carcinogenic petroleum products which are major components of many cosmetic preparations. Many of the traditional skin creams contain petroleum jelly as a base material, which can often block pores and make skin conditions even worse. Furthermore, cosmetic use of corn oil in skin cleansing and wrinkle-reducing cream has been patented by Dr. Donald E. Barker, professor of surgery, Department of Surgery, for the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, US.

How to Select and Store?

The two types of corn include sweet corn and field corn. Sweet corn is more commonly consumed, and field corn is usually grounded and used in the production of flour.

It is easily available across markets all over the world. It’s always good to consume fresh corn; however, frozen corn can also be used. While buying fresh corn make sure the husks are not dried out. Also, consume fresh corn within a few days to ensure good taste. For storing them, you may keep the husk and store them in airtight containers in the refrigerator for longer shelf life.

Quick Ideas to Serve

  • Steamed corn: Clean the fresh corns and cook them in a container filled with water. Add butter, lime, pepper, and/or salt to the cooked corn for additional flavor.
  • Soups and salads: Add the cooked kernels to salads and soups for additional flavor. Mix chopped onion, tomato, lettuce, and cooked corn kernels in a bowl. Season with salt, pepper, lime juice, and olive oil.

Corn is a rich source of many essential nutrients and fiber. A meal rich in corn can go a long way in protecting against many diseases and ailments. So start shucking!

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About the Author

Meenakshi Nagdeve is a health and wellness enthusiast and started working on Organic Facts since 2012 and is currently responsible for managing it. She follows naturopathy and believes in healing with foods. She has completed the Nutrition And Healthy Living Cornell Certificate Program, Cornell University. She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IIM Bangalore and B. Tech in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from IIT Bombay. Prior to this, she worked for a few years in IT and Financial services. In her free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

Eliminate These Foods for Health/Food Swaps Provided

Why is the food toxic?

I am a Health Coach and I have a food sensitivity to gluten. My body does much better when I am gluten free. While I was studying to be a Health Coach via the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN), I discovered THAT MUCH OF OUR FOOD IS a genetically modified organisms (GMO). Also the food is sprayed with toxic chemicals such as Monsanto’s Round Up. Sorry but there have been numerous lawsuits that has found this company responsible for their customer’s getting cancer from working with Round Up. So because of this I really try to avoid any wheat products that are not certified organic. Otherwise, they have been sprayed with Round Up. I am sorry to tell you that. What you don’t know can kill you. I am not a scientist. I am a Health coach/Mom who’s trying to figure out what the hell happened to the food in the good old USA. It’s dead and gone is what happened. But it doesn’t have to be that way. This list, you might want to save so you can give it to friends, family, co-workers, teachers, anyone that is concerned about the quality of food available in the USA. It’s not good but we’re gonna change that. More on that later.

Foods to completely eliminate and or reduce significantly

If you’re in 4th grade, you can have 1 and then run around.

1)Sugar replace with fruits (ALL ORGANIC raisins, dates, figs, pineapple, apple, cherries, peaches, mango etc)maple syrup, honey, molasses, agave

Do I really have to discuss sugar? Simple fact, if you eat sugar, you have to burn it off or it is stored as fat. And our bodies don’t need any excess sugar. But if you are going to have sugar, eat fruit. Just eat fruit by itself.

2)White Bread swap for organic whole grain breads

I know this is a doozy!!! That just messes up your dining experience. I get it. But maybe it’s time to make stuff at home. If they are serving you a plate of poison, I don’t think you would really want it. I am so sorry. But you know I have a solution sweetheart!! I’ll never leave you out to dry. So go someplace that has sourdough (organic if possible) and order your favorite sandwich on that. Just hold the mayo and cheese use avocado for mayo or veganaise. You can also do hummus with vegetables. OMG it’s so good if you haven’t tried it. The fermentation’s of the dough does something to make it easier to digest. Don’t ask me because I’m not a scientist. Remember I said so earlier.

Other healthy options are organic whole grain bread, sprouted breads such as Alvarado Street Market. Brown Rice Tortillas are awesome!!

3)Processed Corn Products swap for organic Corn Products

This actually breaks my heart how messed up the corn industry is. We had a healthy corn but they got greedy and wanted to mass produce Cheeto’s and corn oil. Now MUCH of the corn GLOBALLY is genetically modified. So unless it’s organic, you’re eating poison corn. I just wouldn’t risk it. Why is autism so high? Kids are eating chemicals. So sorry to bring this up but we must face the truth before it can change. But there is organic corn so we’re not completely lost.

You can find organic masa at sprouts and organic corn products are available at Costco and most grocery stores where I live in Northern California. But you have to let the store manager where you live know what kind of stuff you want them to carry. You should have the right for access to safe food. But it might not be a right. You can also go to your City Council and tell them you have no access to safe healthy food in the stores by your home.

This is a serious issue and I don’t have the answers. But I just want people to know so they will stop eating the poison. And I get exposed myself because sometimes that’s the only food available to me. I don’t like it for myself or any other human. But we have free will and can make choices.

4)Soy Products Organic Only if possible

Honestly if you haven’t tried to make soy milk yet, it’s so easy. But yes it is a little chore. I say get together with friends and make a double batch for you and your mom or whoever. But use organic soy beans. If it’s not organic then it’s GMO Soy Beans which who knows if they are safe or not. The soy left over can be dehydrated into soy flour and other cool things. That’s how they make some of those cool soy chicken. It’s kind of labor intensive but it’s worth it.

5) Sulphites are found in vinegars and processed meats

Again sorry that this is such a pain in the ass. I mean seriously all you want is a salad and now you have to worry about the salad dressing!! Yes sorry that’s the way it is. But hey I won’t let you down. You can have Apple Cider Vinegar. Yea for Apple Cider Vinegar. So you can always carry around a little bottle of apple cider vinegar (ACV) and most restaurants to have olive oil so ask for that and use your ACV. AND PROCESSED MEATS ARE cancerous. I would really try not to eat this meat because of the preservatives and sulfites. Sorry about that, I didn’t make the rules or the food safe to eat.

This may seem like a huge pain. And yes it is. But don’t worry. Everything will be OK. Just start to become more aware of your food choices and options. You can always make changes. A great place to start is with your Dr. so you can make sure to get a diet recommendation for your specific medical condition. We’re all unique so what works for me might not work for you and also you might have to play detective to figure out what’s going on.

Tips for Sensitive People to Protect Their Energy

Originally Published on Psychologytoday.com on Dec 16, 2014 By Judith Orloff M.D.

Sensitive people or empaths have an ability to be emotional sponges that can heighten when they are at a social event, around co-workers, or in crowds. If empaths are around peace and love, their bodies assimilate these and flourish. Negativity, though, often feels assaultive or exhausting.

For empaths to fully enjoy being around others, they must learn to protect their sensitivity and find balance. Since I’m an empath, I want to help them cultivate this capacity and be comfortable with it.

I’ve always been hyper-attuned to other people’s moods, good and bad. Before I learned to protect my energy, I felt them lodge in my body. After being in crowds I would leave feeling anxious, depressed, or tired. When I got home, I’d just crawl into bed, yearning for peace and quiet.

Here are six strategies from my book, The Ecstasy of Surrender to help you manage your senstivity more effectively and stay centered without absorbing negative energies.

  1. Move away. When possible, distance yourself by at least twenty feet from the suspected source. See if you feel relief. Don’t err on the side of not wanting to offend anyone.  At the gathering try not to sit next to the identified energy vampire. Physical closeness increases empathy.
  2. Surrender to your breath. If you suspect you are picking up someone else’s energies, concentrate on your breath for a few minutes. This is centering and connects you to your power. In contrast, holding your breath keeps negativity lodged in your body. To purify fear and pain, exhale stress and inhale calm. Picture unwholesome emotions as a gray fog lifting from your body, and wellness as a clear light entering it. This can produce quick results.
  3. Practice Guerilla Meditation. Be sure to meditate before the gathering, centering yourself, connecting to spirit, feeling your heart. Get strong. If you counter emotional or physical distress while at an event, act fast and meditate for a few minutes. You can do this by taking refuge in the bathroom or an empty room. If it’s public, close the stall. Meditate there. Calm yourself. Focus on positivity and love. This has saved me many times at social functions where I feel depleted by others.
  4. Set healthy limits and boundaries. Control how much time you spend listening to stressful people, and learn to say “no.” Set clear limits and boundaries with people, nicely cutting them off at the pass if they get critical or mean. Remember, “no” is a complete sentence.
  5. Visualize protection around you. Research has shown that visualization is a healing mind/body technique. A practical form of protection many people use, including health care practitioners with difficult patients, involves visualizing an envelope of white light around your entire body. Or with extremely toxic people, visualize a fierce black jaguar patrolling and protecting your energy field to keep out intruders.
  6. Define and honor your empathic needs. Safeguard your sensitivities. In a calm, collected moment, make a list of your top five most emotionally rattling situations. Then formulate a plan for handling them so you don’t fumble in the moment. Here are some practical examples of what to do in situations that predictably stymie empaths.
  • If someone asks too much of you, politely tell them “no.” It’s not necessary to explain why. As the saying goes, “No is a complete sentence.”
  • If your comfort level is three hours max for socializing–even if you adore the people — take your own car or have an alternate transportation plan so you’re not stranded.
  • If crowds are overwhelming, eat a high-protein meal beforehand (this grounds you) and sit in the far corner of, say, a theatre or party, not dead center.
  • Some empaths are highly sensitive to scents, if you are overwhelmed, for instance by perfume, nicely request that your friends refrain from wearing it around you. If you can’t avoid it, stand near a window or take frequent breaks to catch a breath of fresh air outdoors.

If all else fails and you absorb stressful or negative energy while at a gathering when you get home take a bath or shower. My bath is my sanctuary after a busy day. It washes away everything from bus exhaust to long hours of air travel to pesky symptoms I have taken on from others. Soaking in natural mineral springs divinely purifies all that ails.

Dr.Orloff shares more about empaths in The Empath’s Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People

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Judith Orloff, M.D. is the author of The Empath’s Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People, upon which her articles are based. In the book she educates readers about empaths, highly sensitive people, and offers strategies for anyone who wants to avoid narcissists and transform difficult emotions to positive ones. Dr. Orloff is a psychiatrist, an empath, and is on the UCLA Psychiatric Clinical Faculty. She synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, energy, and spirituality. Dr. Orloff also specializes in treating empaths and highly sensitive people in her LA based private practice. Dr. Orloff’s work has been featured on The Today Show, CNN, the Oprah Magazine and USA Today. She is a New York Times best-selling author of Emotional Freedom, Positive Energy, Guide to Intuitive Healing, The Power of Surrender and Second Sight. Connect with Judith on Facebook and Twitter. To learn more about empaths and her free empath support newsletter as well as Dr. Orloff’s books and workshop schedule, visit her website. Republished with explicit written permission from the author. Join her empath Facebook community for sensitive souls Here.

Next Economy: Exploring the Role of Community and Restorative Economics

Originally published on Sustainablesolano.org By Gabriela Estrada and Allison Nagel, Sustainable Solano

Next Economy Exploring the Role of Community and Restorative Economics

Communities have the power to shape a new economy that is equitable and just, and the transition to get there lies in creating self-determination and shared prosperity through community governance and community ownership. It also relies on moving from a mindset of scarcity to one of creating abundance.

At our recent Next Economy discussion, we explored these key elements and how they can be used, particularly within communities of color that have been disempowered and disenfranchised in the current economic system, to create a new way of approaching the economy that often draws upon traditions of supporting one another.

This discussion of Restorative Economics came from insight and lessons learned at a workshop led by project management consultant Nwamaka Agbo, who has a background in community organizing and restorative justice. Through our Next Economy series, we’ve tackled problems with the current economy and shared what we’ve learned about creating a new economy from the courses taken through Santa Cruz Permaculture’s Next Economy series, including Nwamaka’s workshop.

Restorative Economics addresses how to prioritize investment of resources back into impacted populations. Nwamaka focuses on creating a just transition that moves away from capitalism’s patterns of economic oppression that has harmed marginalized communities and placed power and wealth with a select few.

In particular, a just transition moves from:

  • Extraction to Regeneration — Moving from an economy that pulls resources (and pushes people) out of communities to one that builds up those communities.
  • Control to Governing for the Whole — Moving from those with power and wealth controlling decisions that affect impacted populations to community governance and approaches that are beneficial to impacted populations and make life better for society as a whole. (As an example, curb cuts were put in on sidewalks for wheelchairs, but then those with bikes, strollers, etc., benefited from having them)
  • Accumulation to Shared Prosperity — Moving from an accumulation of wealth among a few to supporting shared prosperity through the reinvestment of profits in the community to add community benefit. (An example is the “pay-it-forward” approach that, rather than sending loan interest income to an investor turns around and invests it in a loan to another business.)
  • Exclusion to Inclusion — Moving from excluding people from being a part of the economy to build models that give voice and build capacity for meaningful participation in the local governance and economy.

We asked attendees to reflect on the fact that capitalism is a system, which means we have agency over it and we can change it. Keeping this in mind, we asked the group to think of some practices and values we could use for a just transition. As a group, we discussed the different ideas behind Restorative Economics and did some activities to think about both how we look at economics now and new ways to redefine the economy.

We shared Nwamaka’s tenets of Restorative Economics and some examples:

  • Investing in Human Development and Capacity Building: The Restore Oakland project, of which she was a vital part, builds employable skills in recently incarcerated individuals while also creating space for furthering restorative justice and restorative economics work.
  • Remembering and Reclaiming Traditions and Collective Wisdom: Drawing on the indigenous cultures of shared prosperity that have been discouraged in the current economic system.
  • Building a Community of Practice and Social Movement Infrastructure: Practicing community governance through co-ops and other approaches, and bringing community organizations and social movements together to support each other in efforts on the ground and to shape policy.

We wrapped up by thinking of what some of the biggest challenges are in our local community and how to address them. That included creating a system of affordable housing, better community gathering space and the recognition of the true value of labor. The idea of changing from a system that commodifies land, labor and capital to a system of land trust, right livelihood and public banking was also identified.

Join us at our next discussion on May 2 to explore ways to design our economic future.

As Nwamaka told us at the Santa Cruz workshop: “Change doesn’t come from intent. It comes from deliberate action.” That is the first step towards a more just economy that works for everyone.

The funding for Sustainable Solano’s team training at the “Next Economy” course at Santa Cruz Permaculture was provided by Solano Community Foundation through their NPP Capacity Building grants program. Community conversations are made possible through a grant from the Peaceful World Foundation. Thank you to both organizations!

We will continue to share insights at our final workshop at Green Hive Spaces in Vallejo. Please join us to further the discussion on the next economy in our community.

Designing the Regenerative Economy, 6 pm, May 2

Join us to discuss the design principles and strategies needed for vocation and regenerative enterprise design. We’ll discuss how we could redesign the economy for security, prosperity and a stable climate with transformation based on permaculture design principles, methods and ethics for an economy that benefits all life.