Who doesn’t love popcorn? It’s the world’s go-to meal when we’re going to the movies or want to Netflix & Chill at home. Everyone loves it! Parents, kids, teens… but the real question is: is it healthy? What happens when we eat popcorn? Here we have some details for you to answer that question:
We can say that yes, popcorn is a healthy meal overall. It’s a whole-grain food, low in fat and high in fiber. Those qualities make it a good and healthy snack for you, but we have to be careful with the kind of popcorn that we eat. Thanks to the fiber in it, we digest the carbs steadily and slowly. Compared to most snacks, it is very low in calories, which makes it a good option for your ‘cheat-meal’ moments.
But, like everything in life, it can be either good or bad for your health, depending on what you use into making it.
On its own, popcorn is a nutritious and healthy snack, without any added salt, extra chemicals or sugar. It’s high in fiber, and it has no cholesterol itself, and it also contains proteins, minerals, including calcium and potassium, and vitamins (A and K) if you make it the right way.
Popcorn is a whole grain, which means that comes from crops, like oats, rice, barley, etc. Unlike other refined grains in the market, popcorn is full of the kernel (the entire grain seed that comes with cereals) this is because they don’t go through the same manufacturing process that other grains. This means that the kernel makes it a very nutritious meal.
High fiber in whole grains helps with better digestive health and regular bowel movements. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) the serving per 24g of air-popped popcorn contains around 3.5g of fiber. The recommended intake for an average person is around 25g per day and most people don’t reach these levels.
Popcorn also has antioxidants with several health benefits and tryptophan, which is an amino acid important for your sleep. So if you want to sleep better, eating a bowl of it while watching Netflix before going to sleep sounds like a good idea)
Now, you have to be careful with what type of popcorn you’re eating.
What type of popcorn should I eat or avoid?
The less healthy kind is the one you eat when you go to a movie theatre. While corn itself can be nutritious, the way it’s made in theatre isn’t healthy because they use low-quality and very unhealthy oils with tons of fat and many artificial flavors. Also, they add too much butter in it, which has non-healthy fat. Overall, a bucket of popcorn at a movie theatre can have around 1200 calories, 60g of unsaturated fat, and 1500 mg of sodium. It also has a lot of added sugar and salt, which aren’t good for your health. The artificial flavors and toppings that they add while making it
So, maybe next time you go to the movies, you should consider eating something else instead of their popcorn!
The next on the list of less healthy popcorn is the microwave version. Most of these products are made with hydrogenated oils and preservatives that involves many chemicals. One chemical, in particular, called PFOA, is related to cancer. Other chemicals involved in this type of popcorn, like diacetyl, are used in ink which doesn’t make them especially healthy.
So, how to eat healthily popcorn?
You need to buy plain corn kernels and they’re organic, then better. Most corn nowadays grows with pesticides around, so you should avoid that.
While making it, avoid using normal butter. You should cook your popcorn preferably with grass-fed butter. You can cook your corn popping them on the stovetop or using a popcorn machine. Air-popped popcorn without oil and butter provides is the best way to eat popcorn, overall.
Another advice is just to use a small amount of a healthy type of oil like coconut or olive in it. If you want to add some flavor to your popcorn, don’t use artificial ingredients. You can spice things up with parmesan cheese, pepper, sea salt, and even cinnamon.
If you liked this article, you may be interested in reading this: 4 Healthy Facts of Spinach – Nutritional Facts & Benefits
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