Introduction. 100

Corn also called maize is a local raw food material and a staple in various parts of India. It is called “bhutta” or “makai” in local Indian parts. Corn has its origin embedded in America but holds a strong roots of heritage in India. It has many nutritional values and continues to be a great source of energy and taste for the fellow Indian population. Maize is consumed in almost every part of India as it suits the climate, geographic availability and economy of the population. It is also used in ill or in various patient populations. Corn remains the golden grain of India.

Nutritional content of corn. 200

  • Corn/maize accounts for a total of 96-98 calories per 100 grams of corn.
  • It contains carbohydrates which account for 19-20 grams per 100 grams of corn.
  • Protein is present in corn which is about 3-3.5 grams per 100 grams.
  • Fat content is quite less than 1 gram for 100 grams of corn.
  • The fibre content in it is nearly 2.8 grams per 100 grams of corn.
  • Corn contains sugar which is about 6-6.5 grams per 100 grams of corn.
  • Maize also contains various vitamins such as vitamin C and vitamin B. 
  • It consists of minerals such as phosphates, magnesium and potassium.
  • Maize includes carotenoids like zeaxanthin and lutein.
  • Corn contains various antioxidants like ferulic acid.
  • Phytochemicals like anthocyanins are also found in corn.
  • Dietary fibres are a component of it as well.

Availability of corn in India and its usage. 300

Corn is a kharif and rabi crop in India. Hence, It is a significant contributor to the agriculture of this country. It is available throughout the year. Varieties of corn are available in India such as kernels, and sweetcorn for human consumption.

Nutritional content of corn-based ingredients. 200

Corn flour and cornstarch are two major corn-based ingredients in the Indian kitchen. Now, let us understand its contents and usage in patients with kidney disease.

  1. Corn flour– It is commonly used in India for baking or thickening of the foods. It contains a moderate amount of protein and hence can be used in kidney disease in restricted quantities. The restriction is for the reason that it contains potassium, minerals, sodium, and phosphorus in high levels which is a red flag for kidney issues.

100 grams of corn flour includes- 73-75 grams of carbs, 7-7.5 grams of protein, 2 grams of fat and 3.5-4 grams of fibres.  With the same quantity of 100 grams cornflour provides 360 calories. 

One major benefit of cornflour is that it is usually gluten-free. This paves the Way for gluten to be a kidney-friendly food.

  1.  Corn starch– it is commonly seen in Indian homes especially used for baking and thickening of the food. It is nutritionally very shallow but gives about 380 calories for 100 grams of cornstarch use. It contains no fibres and very little protein. Hence corn starch can be used in a kidney-friendly diet but with utmost care and calculation. Corn starch is gluten-free as well making it quite considerable for patients.

It contains about 90 grams of carbohydrates and about 0.1 grams of fat and protein for the usage of 100 grams of cornstarch.

Nutritional content of individual corn preparations in healthy individuals and patients with kidney issues. 300

  1. Pop-corn: it is a type of corn kernel that puffs up with heat. Moisture in the kernel steams up and the shell is opened up due to the same. It is a healthy snack for all healthy individuals. It includes 75-78 grams of carbs, 10-12 grams of protein, 3-4 grams of fat, and about 15 grams of fibre per 100 grams of popcorn servings.

Healthy individuals: can be consumed. It has significant health benefits as it contains a significant amount of fibres making it suitable for better bowel movements.

Kidney patients: can be consumed but strictly monitor the quantity. With the presence of potassium, phosphorus and minerals, kidney patients need to be careful. 

  1. Cornmeal: coarse flour made out of dried corn is cornmeal. It is quite used in Indian kitchens for coating fish and meat before cooking. Also used in cooking muffins and other similar items.  It gives about 360 calories per 100 grams of cornmeal serving. 73 grams of carbs, about 9-10 grams of protein, 4 grams of fat and a good 7-8 grams of fibre are available.

Healthy individuals: it is quite a good option as it contains a good amount of fibre.

Kidney patients: it contains moderate to high levels of phosphorus and hence should be used less. Also, if in use, it should be very strictly monitored.

  1. Sweet Corn porridge: it is a rich and loved dish of India. It is prepared using milk, maize, sugar, dry fruits and other spices. It gives about 90 calories with a 100-gram serving of sweetcorn porridge. Carbs account for 20 grams, about 3 grams of protein, 1 gram of fat and a fibre content of 1-2 grams.

Healthy individuals: it is quite a healthy option with a proper combination of all the nutritional values.

Kidney patients: quantity restriction is advised. Less use of dry fruits and spices is recommended.

Health benefits of corn

  • As discussed earlier, the nutritional content of corn is quite good and hence provides us with immense health benefits. Carbohydrates being a good source of energy, corn proves to be a considerable option to fill in the carbs content. 
  • As maize consists of vitamins and minerals it plays a role in maintaining the immunity of the body and improving it.
  • Vitamin C is an important antioxidant and vitamin B is beneficial for proper synthesis of DNA and niacin.
  • Phosphorus gives bone a good buildup and strength. Magnesium plays a role in muscle and nerve regeneration and function. Potassium works towards the coordinated functioning of the conducting system of the heart and blood flow.
  • With the presence of dietary fibres and starch, corn becomes a good option for keeping bowel movements up to the mark and supporting healthy digestion.
  • Carotenoids’ are present in corn in turn to keep the eyes healthy.
  • The protein content in maize is fair enough to provide quite some energy.

Summary:

Corn/maize is a widely grown crop in nearly all the parts of India. It is regarded as the golden crop of the country. Maize rotis, corn sabzi, corn chaat, maize porridge, and popcorn are popular dishes in India. It contains fibres, proteins, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, phytochemicals and many more healthy constituents, making it a healthy and tasty option for all the age groups. Corn-based ingredients used in India are cornstarch and corn flour. It should be consciously used in patients with kidney disease. The high content of phosphorus, potassium and sodium is the reason why kidney patients have to restrict their consumption. It may lead to higher loading on the kidney’s functioning and may worsen the situation only if not used judiciously. 

Health benefits of corn include building up bone and muscle strength, improving eyesight, enhancing immunity, and nerve and muscle functioning is better. The best use of corn is to keep and improve the bowel movements and clear your stomach. 

The benefit of corn preparation is that it is naturally gluten free. Its fortification can lead to a change in its natural constituents.

Consult your nephrologist and dietician for precisely structuring your diet plan if you have any kidney issues. 

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