Modernization and advancement in technology has affected people’s diets. Majority of our population, now look out for convenience in food preparation and consumption. On this note, most people prefer processed breakfast which is mostly made up cereals which have been designed to minimize the time and labour involved in breakfast preparation. Breakfast cereals are usually eaten as the first meal of the day with grains as the main ingredient.
The most common cereal used in breakfast meals in Ghana are maize, rice, millet, sorghum and maize been mostly widely grown and consume staple food. There are two common types of maize in Ghana; the white and yellow maize. White maize is widely grown in Ghana whiles the yellow type is not, due to low patronage and subsequent neglect. However, yellow corn is more nutritious and tasty compared to white maize. It is rich in minerals, vitamins and carotenoids, particularly beta carotene which is a precursor of retinol or vitamin A. Yellow maize has gelatinization, pasting and crystallization functionalities which makes it useful in breakfast cereal production. These functionalities are as a result of the amylose and amylopectin components of the corn starch. The carotenoids; beta carotene, lutein and zea-xanthin act as antioxidants and react with reactive singlet oxygen, thereby protecting against oxidative. In addition, carotenoids exist as natural colorants and their antioxidant functionality is also known to play a role in limiting cancer, cataracts, atherosclerosis, and the processes of aging.
In addition, a cob of boiled yellow maize contains almost 4g of protein, 3.5g of dietary fiber, about 30g of carbohydrates, 1.5g of fat and 3.6g of sugar and 100 grams of water. It contains no cholesterol and has about 126 kilo-calories.
Most of us prefer white corn, mind you carotenoids are mainly found in yellow corn and white maize has little or no carotenoid.