Corn: A Delicious Longevity Food - Dr. Mao's Wellness Living

Sunday, 25 Aug 2013, 8:44:00 AM

Dr. Mao Shing Ni

Dr. Mao Shing Ni
Courtesy Photo
Dr. Mao Shing Ni

Corn is a late summer staple that may conjure up the smell of sweet cooking cobs on the BBQ or fresh yellow kernels brightening up a summer salad. It is also a food with plenty of benefits for your health and longevity!

Find out what corn can do for you – and learn a new tasty corn summer recipe that gives you a use for those beautiful squash flowers growing in the garden.

During my 25 years of studying centenarians, I discovered that the same 10 foods kept showing up again and again in the diets of long-living individuals, and corn showed up in a variety of dishes across the world.

Corn: Ancient Health-Giving Kernels

When I talk about corn, I am not talking about high fructose corn syrup or corn flakes! I am talking about freshly grown corn that you can pick up at the farmer’s market and throw on the grill or cut off the cob to lightly sauté with fresh herbs.

Corn is an ancient crop, called mahiz, or “that which sustains us” by the North American indigenous people. Cooling in nature, corn is considered by traditional Chinese medicine to lower blood pressure, detoxify, and aid in the treatment of gallstones.

Corn has heart-protective properties due to its fiber and high folate (vitamin B9) content. Folate also protects against colon cancer. Additionally, the thiamin (vitamin B1) is thought to defend against Alzheimer’s disease and age-related cognitive decline.

These days, when the subject of corn comes up, it inevitably brings up the question of GMO crops, as much of the corn grown in this country is genetically modified.

I personally prefer to avoid eating GMOs until time has proven their safety.

My article next week will delve more into this topic, so stay tuned if you want more info! In the meantime, my recommendation is to choose fresh organic corn grown from as local a source as possible. In a bind, organic frozen corn is a good option.

Tasty Rosemary Millet With Yellow Split Peas & Zucchini Flowers

A vendor at the farmer’s market where I buy zucchini flowers shared this recipe with me. He alleged that it came from his grandmother who was almost ninety years of age.

The nutritious millet is paired with yellow split peas, which are no longevity slouch!

They contain high levels of tryptophan to help support healthy sleep and balanced moods. Dress it up with beautiful zucchini flowers and rosemary, which stimulates your brain’s activity—and you’ve got a recipe that promotes happiness.

• 1 cup millet

• 1/2 cup yellow split peas

• 1/2 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen

• 2 teaspoons virgin coconut oil

• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

• 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves stripped and chopped

• 4-8 zucchini flowers

1. Put the millet and split peas into a saucepan, add 3-1/2 cups water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for one hour.

2. Stir the corn into the millet, cover, and continue cooking for an additional 30 minutes, adding a little water to the pan if necessary.

3. When the split peas are tender, remove the pan from the heat, stir in the coconut oil, season with salt and pepper to taste, and mix well. Ladle the millet into bowls and garnish with rosemary and one or two zucchini flowers on top. Serves four.

May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

Dr. Mao Shing Ni, best known as Dr. Mao is a bestselling author, doctor of Oriental Medicine, and board certified anti-aging expert. He has recently appeared on “The Ricki Lake Show,” “Dr. Oz,” and contributes to Yahoo Health and The Huffington Post. Dr. Mao practices acupuncture, nutrition, and Chinese medicine with his associates at the Tao of Wellness in Santa Monica, Newport Beach, and Pasadena. Dr. Mao and his brother, Dr. Daoshing Ni, founded the Tao of Wellness more than 25 years ago in addition to founding Yo San University in Marina del Rey. To make an appointment for evaluation and treatment call 310.917.2200 or you can email Dr. Mao at To subscribe to his tip-filled newsletter, visit

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