The answer is, not surprisingly, yes! This could quite possibly be the best news you could hear all day: popcorn is a superfood – the snack with even higher antioxidant levels than fruits and vegetables. Now, before you start celebrating with a big, buttery bag of movie popcorn, let’s take a look at how this is possible. Get all the facts on how and why popcorn is a healthy snack.
Why is Popcorn a healthy snack?
To begin with, popcorn will never fully replace your daily, healthy servings of fruits and vegetables. However, there’s still a lot that popcorn can contribute to your body. It is a natural whole grain that contains an impressive amount of fiber and minerals. Popcorn can also help aid in proper digestion.
Adding more fiber into your diet has been shown to reduce heart disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes. Fiber plays a role in maintaining proper blood sugar, thus helping to control insulin levels. This fact makes popcorn a great snack for those dealing with diabetes. Since appropriate amounts of fiber also help make you feel fuller for a longer period of time, it also can aid in weight loss.
What makes popcorn healthy?
Air-popped popcorn is a snack you can eat in very generous amounts. In fact, three cups of popcorn equals one serving of whole grains in your daily diet. It is a very satisfying snack that is full of fiber and free of additives. A complete breakdown of nutrients will show how it’s loaded with vitamins, minerals and light on the calories.
Other important nutrient factors about air popped popcorn:
- 100% unprocessed
- No GMOs
- No cholesterol
- Virtually fat free (0.1g/cup)
- 30 calories per cup
- No preservatives
- Sugar free
- Numerous essential vitamins
What are the health benefits of eating popcorn?
We have all heard that antioxidants are great for our body, repairing damaged cells and slowing the aging process. Antioxidants are simply molecules that help protect other molecules from the breakdown called oxidation. Polyphenols are one such antioxidant.
Not with much argument, the hull is the most aggravating part of eating popcorn, getting stuck between your teeth. However, the hull happens to be just where you can find the most concentrated amount of polyphenols anywhere. To give you a little comparison, in a single serving of popcorn there is up to 300 mg of polyphenols. In the same serving of fruit, there is just around 116 mg. Popcorn wins big time here.
In a recent study, researcher Joe Vinson from the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania called the hull “nutritional gold nuggets” and for good reason. That amount of concentrated polyphenols is hard to come by. Vinson also referred to popcorn as “the perfect snack food,” and I doubt any of you will argue that point.
Let’s keep in mind again that this doesn’t mean to throw fruits and veggies completely out of your diet. They still have vitamins and minerals that your body needs, which popcorn does not provide.
How do you create healthy popcorn recipes at home?
All of the benefits of popcorn can be thrown out the window if you it cook in oil (with the exception of coconut oil), slather it in fake butter and dump on the salt and seasonings. The best way to make popcorn is by ditching the microwaveable bags and using an air popper instead. You will save greatly on calories and maintain the healthy component.
Keep in mind that not all oil is created equally. Coconut oil is actually a great choice to make when choosing to cook your popcorn in an oil. Many people want to reach for olive oil, but instead of using that to cook the popcorn in, it is much more effectively used as topping (add in some herbs like basil or oregano and voila! You have a popcorn masterpiece).
Choosing popcorn as your dessert instead
Another great option of making the most out of popcorn is by eating specialty popcorn as your dessert. Instead of eating a loaded piece of cheesecake or birthday cake, you can find similar flavors of popcorn instead. My Popcorn Kitchen has a near endless variety of flavors for all of your unique and special taste buds. There’s gluten free options, heavenly caramel choices and even beer cheddar flavors! You better get searching and loading up your cart to enjoy a dessert without a bunch of guilt on the side.
If dessert popcorn is not your style, keep in mind that there’s healthy options to choose from too. You can order our healthy butter and low salt popcorn. These options are made with non-GMO popcorn seeds that are popped in coconut oil, and have a buttery seasoned salt or white popcorn salt. Made fresh daily in our kitchen.
What is the best popcorn snack?
The fact that air-popped popcorn has higher antioxidant levels than fruits and vegetables is quite astounding. Of course, the key is to keep the popcorn rather plain to maintain its healthy properties. A gigantic serving at the movie theater, drizzled in melty butter is not going to stick in that delicate healthy range.
However, when you choose a version of specialty popcorn, you are choosing something much more healthy at the core. That deep fried twinkie or cheese flavored potato chip is not only unhealthy, it has basically zero nutritional value. You might as well be eating a chocolate covered screw driver at that point. Especially when choosing My Popcorn Kitchen, you are choosing a healthier treat for your whole family that is made with the highest quality ingredients.
Bottom line, popcorn has copious amounts of fiber and health benefits if eaten properly. Research has now proven that the hull is an important factor in this and should be treated a treasure. Next time you get a hull stuck between your teeth, don’t get mad, get to digging it out and enjoying the polyphenols you are consuming.
Want more recipes that use popcorn as the base? Check out this one with more to come:
Marshmallow Creme Bars