Known for its buttery and salty taste, popcorn is famous worldwide as a snack, especially in movie theaters or on movie nights at home with family or friends. There are two varieties of kernels: mushroom and butterfly or snowflake. And there are four types of kernel colors: yellow, red, white, and blue kernels.
Butterfly popcorn pops in irregular shapes and is light and fluffy. It’s primarily served in movie theaters because it fills the serving packets faster. On the other hand, the mushroom variety is round-shaped, denser, and larger than the butterfly variety. It is suitable for gourmet coatings such as chocolate, caramel, or cheese.
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Health benefits of popcorn
You probably can’t get enough of your favorite popped snack. But have you ever asked yourself if it has any health benefits? And what is the healthiest popcorn to eat? The excellent news is that it has several health benefits. For example, some studies have found that it may be much better than some fruits and vegetables. Below are the health benefits you probably didn’t know about.
Popcorn contains polyphenols which have higher antioxidant properties than many fruits and vegetables. This is because fruits and vegetables contain up to 90 percent water diluting the polyphenol properties. But it contains only 4 percent water, highly concentrated with polyphenols. However, fruits and vegetables contain vitamins and other vital nutrients not found in this snack. So it should not replace your daily fruit and vegetable intake.
High in fiber
Three cups of popcorn contain about 3.5g of dietary fiber, which accounts for about 5 percent of the daily required value. The recommended daily fiber requirement is approximately 25g for women and 35g for men. Unfortunately, a higher percentage of the population cannot reach it.
Fiber prevents and relieves constipation and helps maintain a healthy gut. It is also important for weight loss as it keeps you fuller for longer, reducing your food intake and eventually leading to weight loss.
Decreases risk of type II diabetes
Whole grains such as popcorn contain low calories and lots of fiber, which regulate blood sugar and help maintain a healthy weight in diabetic people.
Your beloved popcorn from movie theaters and snack stores contains a lot of butter and salt, which makes it high in calories and unhealthy. So making your own at home is advisable to avoid extra calories in your snacks. Also, it contains a low glycemic index, making it suitable for regulating and maintaining blood sugar in people with type two diabetes.
Lowers risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease
Healthy popcorn without a lot of butter and salt may help lower blood pressure or protect you against developing hypertension in the future. The high fiber content that is also found in it decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease and other heart-related problems.
Good source of iron
Popcorn contains more iron than spinach, according to a report by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). For example, 28 g contains 0.9 mg of iron, while 30 g of spinach contains 0.8mg of iron. Not a significant margin, but worth noting, since many healthcare providers recommend spinach in cases of iron deficiency. The daily recommended value of iron intake for an average human is 8 g for men and 18 g for women due to blood loss during menstrual periods.
It contains vitamins and minerals
Besides being a snack, popcorn contains vitamins K, A, E, and B6, among others. It is also packed with minerals such as potassium, calcium, zinc, phosphorus, and iron.
Homemade popcorn can be a nutrient-dense snack. However, the theater version may be less healthy because it contains lots of butter and salt. Studies have shown that it contains 400 to 1,200 calories and about 1500mg of sodium. This means movie theaters and snack store popcorn are not as healthy as they should be.
So try to make your own at home using an air popcorn popper, healthy oils such as olive oil, and a little sea salt for maximum health benefits. In addition, air-popped popcorn is healthier when unseasoned and unsweetened. Still, eating moderately, chewing it well, and drinking water are essential.