The streets appear to be filled with clouds of smoke in the past 2 weeks. It is definitely not the fumes emitted by the vehicles plying the roads, for i know quite well, its characteristic repugnant smell. NO!!! This smoke, from the firewood of vendors, is particularly flavored by the aroma of boiled maize. Maize or, as preferably called by Nigerians, Corn is back again. This seasonal delicacy is finding its way once again into the stomach of most families.
Maize, a cereal crop is produced world wide and happens to be the most produced grain, the world over. Its botanical name is Zea mays. Nigeria is the largest producer of maize in Africa, closely followed by South Africa as published by International Institute of Tropical Agriculture. a renowned research institute located in Oyo state, Nigeria.
Most people munch on this crop simply because it is tasty. But maize is known to be a very nutritious crop, that have all 6 classes of food compressed into those combs. It is a staple food consumed in different forms by people. Maize could be roasted and eaten or it could be boiled and consumed singly or as a component of a meal. A typical Nigerian family relishes in a food called PAP, extracted from maize after undergoing different stages of processing. Maize serves even the domestic animals in their rations.
Do you know that Cornflakes is wholly gotten from maize? Yes, it is!! The nutritional value of cornflakes is almost similar to that of cooked maize. One large ear of cooked yellow maize contains almost 4 grams of protein, 3.5 grams of dietary fiber, around 30 grams of carbohydrates, 1.5 grams of fat, 3.6 grams of sugar, around 100 grams of water, no cholesterol and amounts to 126 calories. Maize also have ALL the forms of vitamins (water soluble and fat soluble vitamins). It is no wonder then that, Doctors would readily advice mothers to wean their babies with pap and other ingredients, enough for the overall health of the child.
Here are some proven benefits of maize to us;
The high fiber content prevents constipation and colorectal cancer.
Antioxidants, present in a comb of maize, neutralizes the effects of harmful free radicals that cause diseases like cancer. The antioxidant betacryptoxanthin prevents lung cancer, while lutein prevents age related vision loss. Antioxidants slow cognitive decline and conditions like Alzheimer’s Disease.
The phosphorus content of in maize, helps to maintain normal growth, kidney function and bone health. Magnesium boosts the latter, as well as regulates the heart rate.
Thiamine is required for boosting memory, cognitive functions and nerve health, and pantothenic acid is essential for energy, as it is linked to carbohydrate, protein and lipid metabolism.
Folate is an essential requirement, specially during pregnancy. This is why pregnant mothers should be encouraged to eat more yellow corn. It truly saves.
Finally, maize lowers LDL cholesterol and guards against cardiac diseases, diabetes and hypertension.
These are just few of the many benefits that maize confers on us. A good meal consisting of maize also boosts the vigour and resilience of those who frequent the gym. The high fiber content is another characteristic linked to the nutritional benefits of maize. This condition makes it suitable for diets that are made to lose weight and those made with the aim of lowering cholesterol levels.
So do not lose out, since the season is here!!!…. Go get for yourself a nice big, tasty maize. I know it is also cost effective.