If you’re like most individuals, you toss corn silk straight into the compost bin or trash. These silky threads that cowl ears of corn generally is a nuisance to take away — from the cob, your arms and your tooth.
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But Native Americans and other people in China, Turkey and different nations assume in a different way about corn silk. For centuries, they’ve been utilizing corn silk as an natural treatment for medicinal functions. Today, corn silk — and merchandise like corn silk tea and dietary supplements — are rising in reputation. Registered dietitian Susan Campbell, RD, LD, explains why you may wish to preserve (and never trash) corn silk the following time you’re husking corn.
What is corn silk?
Corn silk (Stigma maydis) is the layer of shiny, thread-like strands discovered between the corn husk and ear. An ear of corn might have 300 to 600 corn silks. They’re a key a part of the vegetable’s reproductive system and important to crop pollination. The fibers entice the pollen that fertilizes the cob and helps kernels develop. Along with the husk, corn silk additionally protects kernels, serving to the ear of corn retain its moisture and sweetness.
What vitamins are in corn silk?
Studies present that corn silk accommodates:
- Minerals like calcium, iron, sodium, potassium, zinc and chloride.
Corn silk advantages
Despite centuries of natural treatment use, there are restricted research on the well being advantages of corn silk. Much of the present analysis passed off on animals and never people. Still, certain studies recommend that consuming corn silk and associated merchandise could also be good on your well being.
Four advantages of corn silk on your well being embody:
1. Keeps your urinary system wholesome
Corn silk extract can act as a robust diuretic, making you pee extra. “Increased urine flow can prevent the buildup of bacteria that leads to urinary tract infections (UTIs) and bladder infections,” says Campbell. And should you do get a UTI or bladder an infection, corn silk extract soothes irritation to ease ache.
Increased urination can even assist strengthen your bladder. Healthcare suppliers generally advocate corn silk extract or teas for youngsters experiencing bedwetting and adults with urinary incontinence. Corn silk may stop kidney stones and shield towards kidney injury attributable to sure drugs or most cancers remedies.
The diuretic properties of corn silk may decrease blood stress. But Campbell cautions that individuals who already take diuretics or blood stress drugs could also be in danger for dropping an excessive amount of potassium. This might result in low blood potassium ranges or hypokalemia. “Low potassium is concerning because it can affect the way your heart beats,” says Campbell. “It’s always important to check with your healthcare provider before taking a supplement.”
2. Fights irritation
The plant pigment or flavonoid that provides corn silks their mild inexperienced, yellow, brown or pink colours can be an antioxidant. In reality, corn silk has as a lot antioxidant worth as vitamin C. “Antioxidants protect against inflammation and the effects of aging, as well as diseases like cancer and diabetes,” notes Campbell.
3. Lowers blood sugar
Corn silk extracts are a part of Native American and conventional Chinese drugs for diabetes administration. The extract might decrease blood sugar ranges and assist stop problems like diabetes-related neuropathy (nerve injury), in line with one study. Other studies point out that corn silk extracts might gradual your physique’s absorption of starchy meals, stopping spikes in blood sugar.
But should you’re already taking drugs to decrease your blood sugar, Campbell advises checking together with your supplier earlier than starting to take a complement. “Blood sugar that is too low can be dangerous, too.”
4. Improves levels of cholesterol
The flavonoids in corn silk might enhance your ldl cholesterol numbers by reducing triglycerides and low-density lipoproteins (LDL). “These unhealthy forms of cholesterol cause plaque deposits to form inside your arteries, increasing your risk of heart attacks and strokes,” Campbell explains.
Can you eat corn silk?
Yes! Corn silk has a light style and a sweetness you’ll count on from corn. You can save the silks after husking and use them contemporary as a topping on salads, potatoes, soups, tacos and extra. You can even dry and retailer corn silk for as much as one 12 months.
To dry corn silk:
- Separate the silk strands as a lot as potential.
- Place the strands on a cooling rack out of direct daylight till the water evaporates and the strands really feel barely crispy. (This drying step might take just a few days or every week.)
- Place the strands right into a closed jar or paper bag and retailer in a cool, dry place.
- You can grind the dried strands in a blender to make corn silk powder and sprinkle it onto eggs, salads, casseroles and smoothies.
To make corn silk tea:
- Fill a pan with 2 cups of water and a pair of tablespoons of contemporary or dried corn silk.
- Cover the pan and cook dinner over medium warmth till boiling.
- Reduce the warmth to low and simmer, lined, for 10 minutes.
- Turn off the warmth and let the tea simmer (nonetheless lined) for half-hour.
- Use a strainer to filter out the strands.
- Enjoy your tea scorching or chilly.
Who shouldn’t eat corn silk?
Healthcare suppliers don’t know a lot but concerning the dangers of consuming corn silk or merchandise like teas and dietary supplements. Check together with your healthcare supplier earlier than taking a corn silk complement, as there at present isn’t a advisable dosage. Dosage quantities usually fluctuate relying on an individual’s intercourse, age, weight, drugs and well being points.
For now, Campbell advises towards including corn silk to your eating regimen should you’re pregnant, breastfeeding or taking drugs equivalent to:
- Anti-inflammatory medicine.
- Blood stress drugs.
- Blood thinners.
- Insulin or diabetes drugs.
But for many individuals, corn silk can add a wholesome, contemporary twist to your favourite dishes. So, don’t throw away these corn silks. Save them on your subsequent tea, salad or smoothie!