Is popcorn healthy? – Health Benefits of Popcorn


Whether you crave a quick afternoon snack or need something to snack on while you watch Netflix, popcorn can be your favorite snack. But is popcorn healthy? “For the most part, yes,” says Deborah Cohen, DCN, RDN, associate professor, department of clinical and preventive nutritional sciences at the Rutgers School of Health Professions. “It provides about 3 grams of fiber per cup. Since we typically eat more than one cup per sitting, this is a good start to hitting the minimum 25 grams most Americans need per day. Fiber not only helps you feel full and satisfied, but it can improve blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Here’s what else you need to know about this popular snack:

Is popcorn healthy for you?

“Most people don’t realize that this is a whole grain, which provides the fiber,” explains Marisa moore, MBA, RDA, LD, culinary and integrative dietitian. “Besides the small amounts of nutrients such as B vitamins, iron and magnesium, popcorn also has contains a variety of polyphenols. ” Polyphenols are a type of antioxidant which is linked to better circulation and digestive health. Another advantage? Popcorn is cheap and available everywhere. Plus, you know exactly what’s in it because it doesn’t contain any weird, hard-to-pronounce chemicals.

Air popcorn is the healthiest type.

Without a doubt, air-blown popcorn is the best type to snack on. “It’s low in calories, around 90 calories per cup, and is quick and easy to prepare,” says Cohen. You can use a small counter air popper device, or search microwaveable bowls, which allow you to pop and serve in the same bowl. It’s perfectly fine to add a drizzle of butter or a pinch of salt, if you wish; you’ll use a lot less than the prepackaged varieties, Cohen says.

You can also make old-fashioned popcorn on the stovetop.

The best way to make a batch spawn is to do it on the stovetop. Pour about 1 tablespoon or two of olive, nut, or avocado oil (avoid coconut, flax, and palm oils, which are high in saturated fat) into a deep pot and stir. the. Heat the oil, then add enough popcorn to cover the bottom of your pan. Keep the heat on medium-high. Move the pan back and forth over the burner so that the popcorn does not burn or stick. It’s ready when the clicking noises slow down every few seconds. Don’t worry about unexploded pits; you usually have a few.

What are the health benefits of popcorn?

Popcorn is an unprocessed whole grain that contains 3 grams of fiber per cup prepared. Because you’ll likely be eating more than a cup, it’s a good start to hitting the 25 grams or more that most of us need on a daily basis, says Cohen.

It also contains small amounts of nutrients such as folate, niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, B vitamins, iron, and magnesium. Popcorn hulls are the source of much of the nutritional value, including antioxidants such as beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and polyphenols, which have anti-inflammatory properties.

Popcorn is also low in calories (around 90 per cup of air-pop), so it’s a “fast food” that isn’t full of preservatives. Plus, due to its crunch factor, it helps your brain register that you’re full and satisfied, Moore says. It is also gluten-free, low-fat, and non-GMO.

Popcorn Nutritional Information

Popcorn contains the following vitamins and minerals, according to the USDA:

  • Vitamin B1
  • Vitamin B3
  • Vitamin B6
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorous
  • Potassium
  • Zinc
  • The copper
  • Manganese

    Popcorn in the microwave may not be so healthy

    It might sound convenient, but microwave popcorn can be loaded with fat and sodium, and there is a lot of variation in what brands are in. “Some brands contain up to 10 grams of fat per 2 cups, which is huge for a serving,” Cohen explains. “It’s about the same amount as what’s in the chips. If you choose the microwave-safe types, read the label and aim for brands with less than 200 mg of sodium per serving and the fewest grams of fat you can find (unfortunately, it’s often still around. of 6 or 7 grams per serving).

    Pre-popped or prepackaged bags are convenient on-the-go snacks. But they also may not be that good for you. Again, read the label and try to find the ones that meet your daily nutritional needs, like the smallest amount of sodium you can find, says Moore.

    And while it probably goes without saying, limit your portions of kettle corn and caramel corn, which have tons of added sugar. If you want to treat yourself, measure out a portion and pour it into a bowl; otherwise, it’s too easy to keep digging your hand in the bag! Finally, popcorn at the movies is the worst of the worst – a small bag typically has around 1,000 calories and 40 grams of fat, Cohen says.

    How to make healthy popcorn

    Want to make healthy popcorn yourself at home? Here’s what you’ll need and exactly how to do it.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 tbsp. oil

    • 1/3 to 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels (or enough to cover the bottom of the pan)

    Directions:

    You can air popcorn in a microwave popcorn bowl or countertop popper, or try this simple method on the stovetop:

    Pour 1 to 2 tbsp. olive, nut, or avocado oil (avoid coconut, flax, and palm oils, which are high in saturated fat) in a deep, heavy-based saucepan. Cover with a lid and heat the oil over medium-high heat for a few minutes, then add about a third to ½ cup of the popcorn, or about enough kernels to cover the bottom of your pan. Blanket.

    Wait for the first pop, then start moving the pan back and forth over the burner so the popcorn doesn’t burn or stick. Hold the lid in place with an oven mitt as you shake it so the popcorn doesn’t pop out of the pan. Your popcorn is ready when the popping noises slow down every few seconds. Don’t worry about unexploded pits; you will have a few. If desired, add a drizzle of melted butter and a pinch or two of salt. Make sure to add salt or any other seasoning (cinnamon, cayenne pepper, Parmesan, etc.) while the popcorn is still hot so that it

    Additional Tips:

    If plain popcorn is too boring for you, season it with seasonings, suggests Moore. Just be sure to add while it’s hot so that it sticks to the popcorn. Another trick is to lightly spray water on it to help the flavors stick. Good combinations include: salt, chili powder, and a splash of lime juice; parmesan cheese, garlic powder and Italian herbs; cayenne for a little kick; Balsamic vinegar for a salty punch, or cinnamon with a drizzle of dark chocolate for a sweet tooth.

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