Yellow corn flour -- made by grinding dried yellow corn kernels into a powder finer than corn meal -- adds variety to your baking pantry and makes a welcome addition to baked goods such as muffins and breads. Because it does not contain gluten, yellow corn flour provides a healthy alternative to wheat flour if you follow a gluten-free diet. It also contains a number of essential nutrients, and using yellow corn flour in your cooking boosts your vitamin and mineral intake.
Yellow corn flour serves as a source of zinc, a mineral important for enzyme function. Zinc activates enzymes that regulate gene activity in your cells, boost your immune system and help you convert food into energy. It also makes up a part of your cell membranes, and it activates an antioxidant enzyme that helps keep these membranes, as well as your DNA and proteins, from being damaged. A cup of yellow corn flour adds 2 milligrams of zinc to your meal. This provides 25 percent of the recommended daily intake for women and 18 percent for men, according to guidelines determined by the Institute of Medicine.
Yellow corn flour also provides you with iron. Each cup of yellow corn offers 2.8 milligrams of iron, which is 35 of the daily iron requirements for men and 16 percent for women, according to the Institute of Medicine. The iron you get from your diet is incorporated into hemoglobin, a protein found in your red blood cells that promotes healthy oxygen circulation. Iron also allows your cells to produce energy, and it helps your white blood cells, a component of your immune system, fight off infection.
Carotenoids and Vitamin A
The golden hue in yellow corn flour comes from its carotenoid content. Carotenoids -- a family of yellow, orange and red pigments -- promote tissue function and fight disease. Lutein and zeaxnathnin, two carotenoids in yellow corn flour, filter light as it enters your eye, promote healthy vision and prevent age-related eye diseases. Other carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, break down into vitamin A and support your immune system, aid in cell growth and boost production of red blood cells. Thanks to its carotenoid content, each cup of yellow corn flour adds 250 international units of vitamin A to your meal, providing 11 percent of the daily intake for women and 8 percent for men, as recommended by the Institute of Medicine.
Adding yellow corn flour to your meals makes them more filling, because it absorbs water and swells in your digestive tract. Fiber helps your body respond properly to insulin and control your blood sugar levels, and it helps lower blood cholesterol. Fiber also contributes to your long-term health, combating cardiovascular disease and reducing your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. A cup of yellow corn flour contains 8.5 grams of fiber, which is 34 percent of the daily fiber intake for women and 22 percent for men, as recommended by the Institute of Medicine.
- Le Cordon Bleu: Five Alternatives to Wheat Flour
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Corn Flour, Whole-Grain, Yellow
- Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University: Zinc
- Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University: Iron
- Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University: Carotenoids
- Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University: Vitamin A
- Colorado State University Extension: Dietary Fiber
Sylvie Tremblay holds a Master of Science in molecular and cellular biology and has years of experience as a cancer researcher and neuroscientist. Based in Ontario, Canada, Tremblay is an experienced journalist and blogger specializing in nutrition, fitness, lifestyle, health and biotechnology, as well as real estate, agriculture and clean tech.