The Low-Cal Vegetable You Need In Your Diet, According to a Dietitian

Autumn's favourite vegetable is loaded with powerful antioxidants and is a good source of fibre and protein.

From oil and fuel to sweeteners and flour, corn is a pretty versatile vegetable.

Corn is Canada’s third most valuable crop, and ranks 11 on the global scale for producers, according to Statistics Canada. And, though it’s developed a bad reputation for its use in fried, processed snacks, in its whole, unadulterated form, it’s one of the most delicious and nutritious offerings come fall. (Psst: Here are some more nutritionist-approved foods to incorporate in your diet this season.)

A typical ear of corn is naturally sweet but surprisingly low in calories, clocking in at less than 100 calories, with about three grams of satiating fibre and protein. And, though berries tend to get the seasonal superfood award for antioxidant power, the micronutrient composition of sweet corn is nothing to sneer at. In fact, corn is loaded with the phytochemical power of lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that have been shown to help reduce the risk of macular degeneration (the leading cause of irreversible blindness in adults).

How to select the most flavourful corn

Sweet corn is often available on the cob in white, yellow and bicolour varieties like peaches and cream, but while some people swear that one is sweeter than another, experts agree that colour doesn’t actually play a role. Your best bet for the most flavourful corn is to choose a cob that’s grown locally and in season and, more than anything, prepare it properly – that is, don’t husk it before it’s time to cook it. I get that you want to check for bugs and rotten kernels when you’re choosing your dozen in the store, but the husk keeps the kernels juicy and prevents their natural sugars from transitioning to starch. Your best bet is to look for husks that are tight, green and fresh-looking, with brown moist silks poking out the top. Any little holes in the husks are signs that there may be worms inside.

While it’s a true late-summer treat, whether it’s boiled or grilled with a little butter and a pinch of salt, corn can become the star ingredient in so many meals.

For two of our favourite corn recipes, check out Abbey Sharp’s Creamy Corn Polenta and Mexican Street Corn Chicken.

Originally Published in Best Health Canada