You’ve gotta be kidding! Popcorn? The movie snack staple with a crap load of artificial butter? No way that’s healthy… Calm down. Not all popcorn are created equal. It is true the average container of movie popcorn contains anywhere from 500 to 1000 calories for a medium size. But popcorn, popped at home on your stove, with just a little salt for flavor, and some seasoning, is actually quite healthy and filling. Let’s find out more
What is popcorn?
Yeah, I’m being serious. It is a variety of corn kernel, which expands and essentially pops open with heat and steam inside it. Pressure from the steam builds until the hull ruptures, allowing the kernel to forcefully expand from 20 to 50 times its original size . The most popular variety of popping corn, is the commonly cultivated strain is Zea mays everta, which is a type of flint corn. It’s been widely reported that people have been consuming popcorn as far back as 5000 year ago. Not kernels, but actual popped corn.
Anti-oxidants In studies done by Joe Vinson, Ph.D. and Michael G. Coco, of the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, it was found that polyphenols are more concentrated in popcorn, which averages only about 4 percent water, compared to fruits and vegetables, where polyphenols are diluted in the 90 percent water that they contain [2, 3]. It was also reported that the hull actually has the highest concentration of polyphenols and fiber. Their studies reported that the amount of polyphenols in popcorn was up to 300 mg a serving, compared to 114 mg for a serving of sweet corn and 160 mg for all fruits, per serving.
The popping process does not have significant effects on the phenolic content in popcorn. Also, popcorn eaten plain and air popped is the only food that is 100% whole grain by weight according to the researchers.
Nutrient Content The nutrient profile for air-popped popcorn is pretty good. Check this out. For 8 g (1 cup), 28 g (~3.5 cups) and 100 g (~12.5 cups) of kernels, we have the following:
How to enjoy and keep healthy
Don’t add butter!!! I typically add a sprinkling of salt, with some black pepper, garlic powder, and a little paprika. I also usually do stove top with a little olive oil. It really doesn’t add that much to the calorie count. I recently tried it, with a little bit of lime juice sprinkled over it, as recommended by javikravi (instagram). It was also suggested by minkaa_24 (instagram) that Za’atar (blend of spices) with popcorn is the ‘bomb’. I haven’t done that as yet, but plan to, as soon as I can find some.
Popcorn is an extremely healthy snack, if done correctly. Get the kernels and pop them yourself, either air-popped or on a stove top with a little oil. It has a high concentration of polyphenols, along with a good dose of dietary fiber and proteins. The best part is, that it’s quite filling. So, ditch the movie, and microwave fake butter popcorn, and just do it yourself.