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Don’t Feel Guilty: Enjoy that Ear of Corn

Posted: August 8, 2016

Sometimes consumers consider corn on the cob a starchy vegetable that should be a limited food selection. But it’s perfectly fine to enjoy it as part of a balanced diet.

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, anyone 9 years or older should aim to eat 2 to 3 cups of vegetables a day. That equals 14 to 21 cups a week, and the guidelines recommend that 4 to 6 cups a week, or a bit more than one-quarter of all vegetables, be starchy. Besides corn, starchy vegetables include: potatoes, sweet potatoes, green peas, lima beans, cassava, plantains, jicama, parsnips and water chestnuts.

Most Americans get plenty of starchy vegetables because we eat so many white potatoes, which account for 80% of all starchy vegetable consumption, as well as 25% of all the vegetables we eat. That’s a lot of potatoes. While they’re a good source of potassium and of fiber, especially if you eat the skin, consider diversifying your diet and replacing some of those potatoes with other starchy vegetables. Including, of course, sweet corn.

Corn is a good source of folate, beta carotene and thiamin along with other vitamins and minerals, and has more fiber than potatoes. It also provides zeaxanthin, an antioxidant that may protect against age-related eye disease, such as macular degeneration.

One cup of corn has about 145 calories. (One medium-sized ear of corn has about two-thirds of a cup of corn.) But watch the butter and salt, which of course add significantly to the calories and sodium. Using spray butter (the kind in the pump-spray bottle) judiciously instead of spreading on butter or margarine can trim calories and still provide that familiar flavor.

So enjoy this summertime favorite as you reap the nutritional benefits.

Source: Chow Line, OSU