Whole-grain white corn meal is nutritionally superior to refined, unenriched corn meal, due its higher levels of B-vitamins, iron, zinc and fiber. White corn meal can be found in cornbread, corn muffins, tortillas, polenta, grits and tamales. All the nutrition information for this product is for one-half cup of whole-grain white corn meal, but the actual amounts of corn meal used will vary by the recipe. For example, a serving of corn grits or polenta has about a quarter-cup of cornmeal, while an entire 8-in. square pan of cornbread requires about 1 cup of cornmeal.
Basic Nutrition Information
One-half cup of white corn meal has 221 calories, 5 grams of protein, 2 grams of fat, 46.9 grams of carbohydrates and 4.5 grams of fiber, according to the USDA's Food and Nutrient Database. White corn meal, as it is a starch, has a high carbohydrate content with limited protein and fat. The fiber content is significant at 4.5 grams, as the daily requirement for fiber is 38 grams for men and 25 grams for women up to age 50.
Iron is a vital mineral that many menstruating women don’t get enough of. Inadequate iron intake leads to iron-deficiency anemia, which causes fatigue and a decreased ability to tolerate physical activity. The daily iron requirement for adult menstruating women up to age 50 is 18 mg, while adult men and post-menopausal women over age 50 need 8 mg. One-half cup of white corn meal contains 2.1 mg of iron.
One-half cup of white corn meal provides 1.1 mg of zinc. The daily zinc requirement for adults is 11 mg for men and 8 mg for women. Zinc plays a variety of roles in the body, including acting as a vital part of the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase. Zinc is also essential for wound healing and keeping your immune system strong.
Thiamin, or vitamin B-1, is important for deriving energy from the food you eat. One-half cup of white corn meal provides 0.24 mg of thiamin. The daily thiamin requirement for adults is 1.2 mg for men and 1.1 mg for women. Thus, one-half cup of corn meal provides at least 20 percent of the daily thiamin requirement for adults.
One-half cup of white corn meal provides 15 mcg of folate. The daily requirement for adult men and non-pregnant women is 400 mcg, and pregnant women require 600 mcg daily. Folate, when taken in adequate amounts by pregnant women, helps to reduce the risk for neural tube defects like spina bifida. Folate also plays a vital role in the synthesis of DNA, which is the genetic material of all of the cells of your body.
- USDA Food and Nutrient Database: Cornmeal, Whole-Grain, White
- Linus Pauling Institute; Iron; Jane Higdon, Ph.D. et al.; August 2009
- Linus Pauling Institute; Zinc; Jane Higdon, Ph.D. et al.; March 2011
- Linus Pauling Institute; Thiamin; Jane Higdon, Ph.D. et al.; June 2007
- Linus Pauling Institute; Folic Acid; Jane Higdon, Ph.D. et al.; May 2011