Popcorn was once a treat from the cinema, but it is now a healthy snack option. Is popcorn really healthy? It all depends on how the oil is used to pop it, the seasonings, and the corn kernels.
Is popcorn Healthy?
Popcorn can be healthy if prepared in the right way by manufacturers and individuals.
Popcorn is a whole grain, which is one of many foods that can help improve heart health. These are some of the nutritional benefits that popcorn offers:
- High in fiber
- contains protein
- Contains vitamins and minerals
- Low in fat and sugar
- cholesterol not included
The best popcorn is popped without oil. Popcorn kernels can be heated in a popcorn machine or on the stovetop to air-pop.
People will be more comfortable eating popcorn in the cinema with toppings and flavorings. These extras can have little nutritional value. The bags may contain contaminants and additives.
Popcorn is often high in sodium or salt. Too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure and other health problems. Many brands contain a lot of sugar.
Popcorn can be unhealthy because it contains butter, sugar, salt, and other ingredients. This article focuses on air-popped, oilless popcorn.
We will be discussing the many benefits that popcorn can offer when prepared correctly.
Benefits of whole-grain
Popcorn is a whole grain, which is a combination of grains that are derived from wheat, barley, millet, and rice.
Whole grains are not refined grains, which have been stripped of the germ and bran. Instead, they contain the whole grain seed, also known as the kernel. Whole grains are rich in dietary fiber, protein, and vitamins as well as minerals and beneficial fats.
Brown rice, wholemeal bread, and oatmeal are just a few examples of foods made from whole grains.
Source of fiber
Popcorn is a whole grain and high in fiber. This is great for digestion and regular bowel movements.
A typical serving of air-popped popcorn, whether it is a 3-cup or 24-gram (g), contains 3.5 grams of fiber according to the United States Department of Agriculture. The daily recommended intake for an average American is greater than 25g per day. Most people don’t reach this level.
Popcorn also has protein. A typical serving contains just over 3g of the 50 g daily value.
Protein is essential for many body functions, including blood clotting and fluid balance, vision, immune response, and vision. Protein is found in every cell of the body and plays an important role in the building and repair of cells and tissues.
Vitamins and minerals
Popcorn that has been air-popped is unsalted and contains many vitamins and minerals. These include calcium and potassium. Vitamin A and vitamin K are also present.
Lower risk of developing heart disease
Pierpoint states that popcorn is a whole grain. It contains all the grains, including the germ and bran.
By contrast, refined grains, like white rice and bread, contain the endosperm only and as a result, offer less nutritional value.
Consuming a diet rich in whole grains is associated with a lower risk of developing heart disease. A 2010 study on healthy middle-aged adults showed that three meals a day of whole-grain foods substantially reduced the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. This was due to lower blood pressure.
Unsweetened, air-popped popcorn has around 78% carbohydrates. It is safe for those with diabetes if they consume it in moderation.
Diabetes patients have difficulty making insulin or being sensitive to insulin. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels.
People with diabetes should be careful about how much carbohydrates they consume. Carbohydrates can break down into sugars after they are consumed. There are many factors that can affect daily and weekly carbohydrate goals. To determine the best amount for you, it is best to consult your healthcare team.
Making air-popped popcorn at your home
Air-popping is heating hard popcorn kernels or seeds in hot air until they explode and become popcorn.
Popcorn can be flavored with butter or oil, but it does not require any oil. A version with healthy polyunsaturated oils, like avocado oil, can be used to replace oil.
A person will need to have the following items in order to make popcorn fresh at home:
- A tight-fitting lid is a must for a saucepan
- 3.5 teaspoons or 58 grams of popcorn kernels
- Salt: 0.25 teaspoon to 0.5 teaspoon
To air-pop popcorn kernels, follow the below recipe:
- Preheat the pan over medium heat
- Add a few drops of water to the hot saucepan
- Add the popcorn kernels to the lid and replace it
- Every 2 seconds, shake the pot gently
- Listen out for kernels popping. This should take about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Continue to keep going until you have at least three seconds between pops
- Remove from heat and sprinkle salt on top.
Popcorn can be a healthy snack depending on how it is prepared.Popcorn, when air-popped, unsweetened and unsalted, is rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Popcorn can be unhealthy if it is laden with butter, sugar, or salt.
People can make healthier dietary choices by reading labels before they buy foods and making homemade meals.