Corn flour – benefits, harm and how to use it!

Corn flour is one of the most used ingredients in many recipes, but it also has many medicinal properties that are beneficial to health, for example, it does not contain gluten.

Many people who have an allergy or intolerance to this protein often ask themselves: What is really good for me? Which alternatives on the grocery store shelf are the best? Corn flour  is a gluten -free option that you should know about.

There are a few caveats – so it’s not always your first choice – but if you buy the right kind, you can enjoy a gluten-free option that doesn’t compromise on flavor. If you’re gluten intolerant or just want to expand your nutritional horizons, read on to learn more.

What is cornmeal? 

As I’m sure you’ve guessed by the name, cornmeal  is derived from corn kernels . There are several ways to make some people even make it at home – but they differ in nutritional value.

Sprouted or fermented corn retains more nutrients than the dry-machined varieties used to make flour and it is not to be confused with other ground corn products, it is used to thicken foods or liquid sauce, fry foods and make baked goods such as tortilla chips. corn or cornbread.

Nutritional value of corn flour? 

Cornmeal serving sizes vary widely, as it all depends on what you are making. For this example, I’m going to stick with the amount in two small corn tortillas. A ¼ cup of this sprouted yellow flour contains:

Health Benefits of Corn Flour:

1. Does not contain gluten: 

Corn flour  is a gluten-free alternative to white/ wheat flour and can be used to thicken sauces or make tortillas and other baked goods, without using inflammatory gluten.

Since inflammation is at the root of most diseases, eliminating or minimizing inflammation-causing foods from your diet can help you prevent disease and improve your quality of life.

2. Contains fiber and good amount of protein: 

A cup of this flour meets one-third of the daily fiber recommendations and provides a good amount of protein that you should be consuming daily. If you’re following a vegan or similar diet, protein can sometimes be a challenge, which makes it a particularly good option.

3. Rich in antioxidants: 

One of the amazing benefits of organic corn is the high level of antioxidants that prevent various diseases. In addition, unprocessed beans have a much higher level of polyphenols (a specific type of antioxidant) than similar processed grains known as cereal grains.

You can fight free radical damage, which is accumulated by processed foods, exposure to toxins , eating foods rich in these compounds, etc.

4. Easy to digest and good for the digestive system: 

Corn contains amylose, cellulose, lignin and hemicellulose, which are known as insoluble fibers. Proper digestion involves a balance of soluble and insoluble fiber .

Insoluble fiber like that found in corn is able to ferment in the colon and support a diverse microbiome, which researchers are starting to realize in recent years has a huge impact on the health of the body (and digestion in particular).

Health benefits of corn flour: 

1. Affect nutrient absorption: 

Have you ever heard of phytic acid? If not, you need to understand what it is – in grains and  vegetables , phytic acid binds to certain nutrients (the compound of phytic acid plus a nutrient is called “phytate”) and inhibits the body from absorbing and using those nutrients.

This means you should read the nutrition label and be well-informed about the amount of vitamins and minerals you’re consuming, but if you’re consuming them without dealing with phytic acid, you’re probably not going to get many of these nutrients.

Don’t throw out your entire pantry just yet. Everyone consumes phytic acid in some amount or another, and there is also some evidence that it can benefit the body by helping to prevent certain chronic diseases. It all depends on balance.

Fortunately, dealing with phytic acid is not impossible. Soaking or sprouting grains is a great way to separate these molecules and make the most of the nutrients found inside, which is why I always recommend  sprouted cornmeal .

2. Rich in carbohydrates: 

Let me start by saying: carbs are not the devil. You need them to survive and should generally meet around 40% of your calories per day (for an active individual).

We usually hit around 200 grams of carbs a day. Many people find that reducing carbs to 120 can help them shed some unwanted pounds, so the 120 to 200 range is usually a good place to settle down.

With two small corn tortillas, you’ve already exceeded 10% of your daily requirement. They may be gluten-free, but corn tortillas or any product made with cornmeal  will be high in carbs.

For proper functioning and to maintain a healthy weight, aim to stay at this number. And pay attention to the carbs you’re consuming and work to balance the percentages of carbs, protein, and fat.

Precautions when using corn flour: 

It is important to consume only organic, sprouted cornmeal . I never advise using conventional because of the dangers of GM products and the associated pesticide contamination, so if that’s your only option, I’d say try something completely different.

Some people, particularly those with problems like SIBO or IBS, may have problems with insoluble fiber like that found in corn, because it may not make it to the colon where it is supposed to ferment.

Corn allergies are rare, but if you have a sensitivity or an allergy, avoid  corn flour and choose something rarely allergenic, like brown rice flour .

As I said before, health is a balancing act. With the high carb count, I don’t recommend using it every day or as your main meal. However, it can be a nice addition to your cooking, especially in certain ethnic dishes that need that mellow corn flavor.

Final thoughts on corn flour: 

Corn flour is a whole-seed product, derived from corn, used in thickening liquids, frying and baking.

One of the biggest problems is not the cornmeal , but the corn it comes from – nearly 90% in the US is genetically modified and sprayed with Roundup, a very dangerous pesticide linked to a host of health problems. Avoid cornmeal unless you are using an organic variety.

Cornmeal  is generally easy to digest, contains valuable antioxidants , and can provide decent amounts of protein and fiber , making it a good choice for a very nutrient-dense flour.

Since corn contains phytic acid, your body may not be able to absorb the nutrients that the flour contains. However, if you buy  sprouted, phytic acid is reduced as much as possible.

Useful links: 

In addition to corn flour , there are other great gluten-free alternatives to white/ wheat flour that you can try, including coconut flour , almond flour, cassava flour, and more.

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