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Corn Research

Research published in the October 2008 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistryrevealed significant health benefits in milled yellow corn products. The study, authored by Purdue University professor Dr. Mario Ferruzzi, demonstrates milled yellow corn products are rich in antioxidants, especially carotenoids such as lutein.  Additionally, the bioaccessibility level of carotenoids milled corn products is high, often more than 50% bioaccessible.

Carotenoids are yellow and orange plant pigments known for their association in the prevention of chronic diseases including cancer, cardiovascular disease and macular degeneration. Vegetables such as carrots, spinach and tomatoes are frequently associated with high levels of carotenoids; however, given the findings of this study, milled yellow corn products should be included in this category of antioxidant-rich foods.

The study found that the carotenoids found in milled yellow corn products have a high level of bioaccessibility, which is the amount of nutrients available for absorption by the body after digestion. In fact, the process of milling corn products makes key vitamins and nutrients more easily utilized than from many other foods.

“The bioaccessibility of carotenoids from milled corn products is as high if not higher than many other foods such as spinach, carrots and tomatoes, which are well-known for their high levels of carotenoid antioxidants,” explained Dr. Mario Ferruzzi, associate professor, Department of Food Science, Purdue University and author of the study.

Milled corn is found in a wide variety of food including corn meal, grits, corn flour, corn flakes and breakfast cereals. In addition to being rich in antioxidants, milled corn foods are delicious, making it easy to get essential nutrients such as carotenoids into one’s diet.

About Dr. Ferruzzi
Dr. Mario Ferruzzi is an associate professor at Purdue University’s Food Science and Food and Nutrition Departments.  His area of research concentration focuses on phytochemical and botanical chemistry with emphasis on food pigments and flavonoids as well as investigating the food processing effects on bioavailability. His previous research has been published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Food Chemistry, Obesity Research, Nutrition Research and the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

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