Maize: Sustains Your Health


Maize, the American Indian word for corn, literally means “that which sustains life.” After wheat and rice, it is the most important cereal grain in the world, providing nutrients for humans and animals. It also serves as a basic raw material for the production of starch, oil, protein, alcoholic beverages, food sweeteners, and fuel. Maize has the highest average yield per hectare. 

Maize is an important food in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and parts of the former Soviet Union. Each country has one or more maize dishes that are unique to its culture. Examples are ogi (Nigeria), kenkey (Ghana), koga (Cameroon), toi (Mali), injera (Ethiopia), and ugali (Kenya). Most of these products are processed in traditional ways. In Africa, ground maize is cooked into a paste or mush and eaten while still warm, accompanied by a thick low-alcoholic beer. In some areas of Africa, maize mush is fried or baked. In Central and Latin American, maize is consumed in the form of maize bread or tortillas.

Maize is also used as animal feed and raw material for industrial use. In industrialized countries, a larger proportion of the grain is used as livestock feed and as industrial raw material for food and nonfood uses. On the other hand, the bulk of maize produced in developing countries is used as human food, although its use as animal feed is increasing. Maize is the largest food crop of the United States, which is responsible for 40 percent of the world’s production.Maize constitutes an important source of carbohydrates, protein, vitamin B, and minerals. As an energy source, it compares favorably with root and tuber crops, and it is similar in energy value to dried legumes. Furthermore, it is an excellent source of carbohydrate and is complete in nutrients compared to other cereals.


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