Ever find yourself wondering “Is corn good for PCOS?” It’s a fair question, given all the conflicting information about PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) nutrition out there! Fortunately, the answer is yes, corn can be a very healthy food for PCOS.
To understand why, it’s helpful to know what makes a meal PCOS-friendly. You’ll also want to know the nutrition benefits of corn for PCOS.
This is especially helpful information for anyone who eats a lot of corn products like corn tortillas and tostadas. As a Latina dietitian, I talk to Latinas with PCOS every day who want to continue to eat these foods while improving symptoms.
The good news is that it’s more than possible to enjoy corn while improving your PCOS symptoms. If you’re curious how, keep reading!
We’ll be covering the best diet patterns for PCOS, and how corn fits that pattern given its unique nutritional profile. Finally, I’ll share some tips on how to build a PCOS-friendly plate with corn and show you some example meals from Latin American culture.
Best PCOS Diet
Despite what you may have heard on social media, a PCOS-friendly diet does not have to be very restrictive.
In fact, there is no one diet that is best for women with PCOS. There are several dietary patterns that have shown benefits for PCOS like improving insulin sensitivity, reducing testosterone, and managing inflammation.
This includes the Mediterranean diet, which may help reduce inflammation, which is common in polycystic ovary syndrome (1). Another dietary pattern that may help improve PCOS is a low glycemic diet (2).
Is Corn good for PCOS?
The good news is corn fits perfectly into both of these dietary patterns! Yes, corn can be a very PCOS-friendly food. To understand why, let’s start with looking at the nutrient content of corn.
1 cup of fresh, sweet corn (about 1 large ear of corn) provides (3):
|Fiber||3 (12% daily needs)|
|Potassium||392 g (11% daily needs)|
|Magnesium||54 g (17% daily needs)|
|Vitamin C||10 g (13%)|
|Vitamin B3||2.6 g**|
**While fresh corn has vitamin B3, your body doesn’t absorb it well until it’s been nixtamalized. This is why you get more vitamin B3 from tortillas than from fresh corn.
Additionally, fresh corn is a good source of antioxidants like beta-carotene, and lutein. Certain types of fresh corn are also good sources of resistant starch.
Nixtamalized corn is the corn used to make tortillas, tostadas, tamales, and more. This process adds a lot of nutrition to corn.
1 cup of canned, yellow hominy (nixtamalized corn) provides (4):
|Fiber||4 (16% daily needs)|
|Magnesium||26 g (8% daily needs)|
|Zinc||1.7 mg (21% daily needs)|
In addition to the magnesium and zinc, nixtamalized corn is an even better source of resistant starch than fresh corn (5). This process also makes the vitamin B3 more available for your body to absorb (6).
Benefits for PCOS
As you can see, corn provides plenty of nutrients. Let’s review some of the ways corn can benefit people with PCOS.
- Promote gut health: There may be a link between your gut microbiome and PCOS (7). The resistant starch in corn (and corn tortillas) may help promote gut health (8).
- Low Glycemic Index: Both corn and products made from corn masa are low GI foods. The glycemic index of corn is 52, and corn tortillas have a glycemic index of 46 (9).
These are considered low glycemic index foods. This means eating corn and corn tortillas will not raise blood sugar levels too much.
- Fight inflammation: A lot of antioxidants and vitamins in corn can help fight inflammation. Including beta-carotene, lutein, vitamin C, and vitamin E. This is important because women with PCOS tend to see higher levels of inflammation (10).
- Curb cravings: one effect of PCOS is higher appetite and cravings (11). This is one of the most frustrating aspects of the condition for many women. Fiber, like that found in corn, can help improvefullness and reduce appetite (12).
- Provides essential nutrients: Women with PCOS are less likely to have enough magnesium and zinc (13, 14). This is important because both of these nutrients can promote healthy insulin levels.
Building a PCOS-friendly plate with corn
Now that you know corn can be good for PCOS, let’s go over how to build a pcos-friendly plate with corn.
Build your plate like this:
- Base: Elote, corn tortillas, or other corn dish. This provides fiber and carbohydrates.
- Protein: Add a protein that’s either lean or provides unsaturated fats. Ex: salmon, shrimp, chicken, beans.
- Vegetables: Add a fistful (or more) of vegetables. Favorites include fresh salsa, shredded cabbage or lettuce, grilled onion, and more.
- Healthy fats: Avocado slices, olive oil, or crunchy pepitas, for example.
Example plate: Three shrimp tacos with shredded cabbage, lettuce, salsa verde, and avocado slices.
As you’ve seen in this blog, corn is a great source of complex carbohydrates. This makes it a healthy choice for managing the insulin resistance that normal comes with PCOS.
The vitamins and minerals in corn can also benefit PCOS, either by acting as antioxidants or by preventing common deficiencies.
To build a PCOS-friendly meal with corn, add a lean protein like beans, chicken, or fish, plus plenty of vegetables like salsa, avocado, and zucchini.
I help Latinas manage PCOS while enjoying their favorite cultural foods. Ready to start feeling better, with plenty of Sabor? Check out my free PCOS food lists for Latinas. Sign up below!