Eating a bowl full of crunchy popcorn is loved by many people. For centuries, it’s been considered a favorite snack item in the USA. Do you have a craving for a big pack of popcorn while you go to watch movies at a theatre? Or while watching late night flicks at home on your DVD player with your partner? But is eating popcorn healthy?
The answer to this question is a “Yes”, if you exclude the commercially available popcorn.
Popcorn Is Even Healthier Than Vegetables and Fruits
According to a study, one portion of air-popped popcorn has greater amounts of antioxidants than those present in all the vegetables and fruits most people eat in a single day. Antioxidants are compounds that help fight free radicals which cause cellular damage.
Popcorn is also a rich source of vitamins such as folate, riboflavin, niacin, vitamins A, B, K and E, thiamine and minerals such as zinc, potassium and iron. It also contains polyphenols which again contain antioxidants to fight off heart problems and cancers.
Additionally, one cup or 25 g of air popped popcorn has only 31 calories and 0.3 g of fats. However, if the corn is popped in oil, the values mentioned above can become triple, but in comparison to the same portion of salted fried crisps, popcorn is certainly a better option.
Popcorn Is a Dieter's Food
Is popcorn healthy? Yes. If you are on dieting and trying to lose a few pounds, you may be bothered by hunger pangs. Popcorn is a light and filling food to stop those annoying hunger pangs and also provides a boost to your health at the same time.
This is partly due to its low GI (glycemic index). The beneficial GI of popcorn has been highlighted by USDA (United States Department of Agriculture). Glycemic index is a term that describes the levels of blood sugar after consumption of carbohydrates-containing foods. Foods that have a low GI are recommended as they won’t increase the blood sugar after consumption and make you feel fuller for a longer duration. Popcorn has a GI of 55, which is quite low in comparison to 2 slices of white bread that have a GI of 88, hence, making eating small portions of popcorn an excellent method for weight management.
Popcorn Is Rich in Dietary Fiber
Is popcorn healthy? Yes. Whole grains provide a major benefit of dietary fiber. Popcorn contains around 4 g of dietary fiber in every 4 cups of air-popped corn. Majority of the Americans consume half amount of their recommended daily intake (RDI) of fiber. The RDI of fiber is 25 g for females and 38 g for males. An adequate intake of fiber not only keeps your bowel movements regular but also reduces your risk of heart disease, levels of blood cholesterol and your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
All Types of Popcorn Are Not Equal
While natural, plain popcorn has many health benefits, due to convenience and taste, various unhealthy extras have been added to the regular popcorn.
After answering the question "is popcorn healthy?" let’s discuss some ways to make healthier popcorn.