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Corn and Corn Chips: What Color Should You Choose?

Corn is one of the most widely cultivated and versatile crops around the world. Its bright colors and diverse varieties contribute to its popularity in various cuisines and cultural traditions. And of course, without corn, we would be lost in a world of no corn chips!!!  😉  But how do you choose from all the different varieties and make the healthiest choice?  Let’s look at the distinctive characteristics of blue corn, yellow corn, and white corn, noting their differences and unique qualities.

  1. Color and Appearance

Blue Corn: As the name suggests, blue corn stands out with its striking blue or purplish kernels. This vibrant hue is due to the presence of anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid pigment. Blue cornmeal or flour derived from blue corn kernels adds a captivating blue tint to dishes.

Yellow Corn: Yellow corn is perhaps the most widely recognized and consumed variety. Its kernels exhibit a sunny yellow color that ranges from pale yellow to deep golden. This type of corn contains a higher concentration of carotenoids, which contribute to its vibrant hue.

White Corn: In contrast to the colorful counterparts, white corn displays kernels that are milky white or pale yellow. This variety is popular in certain culinary applications where a neutral or subtle color is desired.

  1. Taste and Texture

Blue Corn: Blue corn possesses a slightly nutty and earthy flavor compared to other corn varieties. It tends to be denser and has a more substantial texture, making it an excellent choice for tortillas, chips, and even bread.

Yellow Corn: Yellow corn is known for its sweet and mild taste, which can vary depending on where it’s grown. The kernels are tender and succulent, making yellow corn a versatile ingredient that works well in salads, soups, and various corn-based dishes.

White Corn: White corn is often described as having a milder and sweeter flavor compared to yellow corn. Its kernels are tender and creamy, making it a popular choice for dishes like corn chowder, succotash, and steamed corn on the cob.

  1. Culinary Applications

Blue Corn: Blue corn’s striking appearance makes it a favorite for tortillas, corn chips, and masa used in traditional Mexican dishes like tamales and enchiladas. It adds an element of visual intrigue to a variety of baked goods, pancakes, and even unique dishes like blue cornmeal porridge.

Yellow Corn: Yellow corn is incredibly versatile and can be enjoyed fresh, boiled, grilled, or incorporated into countless dishes. From cornbread and corn pudding to corn salsa and popcorn, yellow corn finds its way into numerous culinary creations worldwide.

White Corn: White corn is commonly used in culinary applications where a more subtle appearance is desired. It serves as a staple ingredient in traditional dishes like cornbread, polenta, and creamy corn soups. It can also be enjoyed as a simple steamed or boiled side dish.

  1. Nutritional Value

Blue Corn: Blue corn contains higher levels of certain antioxidants, particularly anthocyanins, which are associated with numerous health benefits. These antioxidants have been linked to reduced inflammation, improved cardiovascular health, and enhanced cognitive function.

Yellow Corn: Yellow corn is a good source of dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It contains a significant amount of lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that promote eye health. Yellow corn also provides valuable amounts of folate, thiamine, and vitamin C.

White Corn: White corn shares similar nutritional qualities with yellow corn. It contains dietary fiber, essential vitamins, and minerals such as potassium and magnesium. White corn is also a good source of complex carbohydrates.


But really, who cares about all of that—-how do you choose the best corn chip??  Should you be choosing blue, yellow, or white???

The winner: BLUE!

Blue corn chips tend to have more protein and less starch than the white and yellow corn chips you’ll find on store shelves. They also contain at least three times as much fiber as other tortilla chips.  But- while they may have a few more health benefits, it’s important to remember that they still are not the healthiest option to eat in abundance.  They tend to be all to easy to overeat (a portion is usually just 10-12 chips!) and the frying process removes most of the antioxidant benefits.

So each variety of corn – blue, yellow, and white – brings its own unique characteristics, flavors, and cultural significance to the table. Ultimately the best corn chip choice for you is the one you will enjoy, with the fewest additional ingredients.  But remember to stick to appropriate portion sizes!

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Dr. Candice Seti


California-licensed Clinical Psychologist, Certified Nutrition Coach, and Certified Personal Trainer

Dr. Candice Seti

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