Corn meal is a staple food in North and South America, often used to make tortilla, tamales, fried bread and Mexican drinks. It is essentially made from grinding dried corn kernels into fine, medium or coarse particles. It can be yellow, blue or white, depending on the corn used and it lends a sweet, robust flavor to anything from corn muffins to polenta. Whole grain corn meal includes bran, germ and endosperm of the corn. When eaten in moderation, it can also help achieve weight loss.
Corn is an excellent source of vitamin B1, vitamin B5, folate, dietary fiber, vitamin C, phosphorous, manganese and more. According to the website baking-management.com, milled yellow corn–such as corn meal, grits and corn flour products–are especially rich in antioxidants, especially carotenoids such as lutein. Carotenoids belong to a class of colorful antioxidants, known as anthocyanins. According to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (nutraingredients.com), researchers from Japan revealed that both in vitro and in vivo experiments showed that anthocyanins have a significant potency against fat cells and could be used to prevent weight gain. Anthocyanins influenced the function of fat cells and can be used to prevent metabolic syndrome, a condition characterized by central obesity, hypertension, and glucose and insulin metabolism.
According to the Mayo Clinic, dietary fiber provide essential health benefits. It can promote colon health, relieve constipation, lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar and weight loss. Fiber helps weight loss by inducing satiety (a feeling of fullness) which makes you stay full for longer periods of time, thereby preventing unnecessary eating. In addition, high-fiber foods are less energy dense, meaning they have fewer calories for the same volume of food. Since 1 cup of whole grain corn meal yields about 10 grams of dietary fiber, it makes sense that incorporating corn meal into your diet will help stave off hunger and trim the waistline in the long run.
Corn contains a kind of carbohydrate called resistant starch. Unlike the typical carbohydrates that get stashed away as body fat, if you eat more than you can burn, resistant starch avoids digestion and ends up in the large intestine, where it gets fermented. This process produces beneficial fatty acids, especially one called butyrate, which blocks the body’s ability to burn carbohydrates. Janine Higggins, Ph.D., nutrition research director for the University of Colorado, said “This prevents the liver from using carbs as fuel and, instead, stored body fat and recently consumed fat are burned.”
More body fat burned means less weight gain.
Using corn meal in your diet
To tap into the many fat-busting qualities of corn meal, try including corn meal in your diet. Use them in your baking—corn muffins, cornbread, corn pancakes. Combine cornmeal and seasonings as breading for fish, chicken, or hot dogs. Coarser versions of cornmeal can be used to prepare polenta, a nutritious alternative to carbohydrates. It can also be used to sprinkle the bottom of baking pans to prevent foods from sticking. For more ideas, check out 100 cornmeal recipes at foodnetwork.com.