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Food for Life - Caribbean - Cornmeal

Dried ground corn is known as cornmeal. Cornmeal is used to create dishes like polenta, grits and various different types of baked goods. Cornmeal's nutrition and benefits depend on the way it was produced, as both refined and whole-grain cornmeal are commonly made.

Cornmeal's Nutrition, Benefits and Uses

Cornmeal, which is typically made from white or yellow corn, can be produced in a variety of different ways. Fine, medium and coarsely ground cornmeal are used to make many different dishes.

It's easy to obtain the benefits of cornmeal, since this ingredient is often added to baked goods and used in breading to enhance a food's texture. It's even used to thicken stews and soups. Cornmeal is also the staple ingredient in a variety of different dishes like hoecakes, cornbread, grits, polenta, tamales and tortillas.

According to the USDA, 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of uncooked yellow cornmeal has a variety of different essential nutrients, including:

19 percent of the daily value (DV) for iron
6 percent of the DV for potassium
30 percent of the DV for magnesium
19 percent of the DV for phosphorus
17 percent of the DV for zinc
21 percent of the DV for copper
22 percent of the DV for manganese
28 percent of the DV for selenium
32 percent of the DV for vitamin B1 (thiamin)
15 percent of the DV for vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
23 percent of the DV for vitamin B3 (niacin)
9 percent of the DV for vitamin B5
18 percent of the DV for vitamin B6
6 percent of the DV for vitamin B9 (folic acid)

Information sourced from www.livestrong.com

Carbohydrates account for most of the energy in cornmeal. Each cup contains 94 grams of total carbohydrates, with carbs making up 76 percent of corn meal's caloric content. Corn meal contains dietary fiber, a beneficial carbohydrate. Fiber helps fill your stomach after a meal to keep you feeling satisfied and it helps soften your stool to prevent constipation. Each cup of cornmeal contains 9 grams of dietary fiber. This represents about 36 percent of the daily fiber intake requirements for women and 23 percent for men, according to the Linus Pauling Institute.

Corn meal also benefits your health by boosting your iron intake. A cup of corn meal provides 4.2 milligrams of iron, more than half of the 8 milligrams recommended daily for men and 23 percent of the 18 milligrams recommended daily for women, according to the NYU Langone Medical Center. Iron helps your red blood cells transport oxygen throughout your body, and also helps drive your metabolism by activating enzymes required for energy production. Iron also contributes to brain function -- it activates enzymes that you need make neurotransmitters, chemicals your brain cells rely on for communication.

Eat corn meal as a source of phosphorus. Phosphorus helps make up your DNA, forms a component of your cell membranes and also contributes to bone mineral tissue. Your cells also use phosphorus to help activate or inactivate enzymes, so getting enough phosphorus also supports healthy enzyme function. A cup of corn meal contains 294 milligrams of phosphorus, or 42 percent of your daily phosphorus intake requirements, according to the Linus Pauling Institute.

Information sourced from healthyeating.sfgate.com





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