Popcorn without any added sugar or salt is a nutritious and a healthful snack. It is a corn kernel which when heated pops up and becomes fluffy and light. If made in the right way it serves with plenty of health benefits. Popcorn is a whole grain and amongst the foods good for heart health. It contains:
- A good amount of fiber
- Vitamins and minerals
- Low fat and sugar
- No cholesterol
Air-popped popcorns are the healthiest. Their nutritional value decreases as they are topped or flavored. Premade popcorns might contain added salt which can increase the risk of high blood pressure and other health complications.
Different Ways Of Making Popcorns
Popcorns can be made in different ways. The premixed or the precooked one also varies in their nutritional count.
Air-popped is the healthiest amongst all as they are unsweetened, unsalted and contains 0.21 gram of sugar and 1.09 gram of fat.(1)
Oil-popped, unsweetened and unsalted popcorns contain 0.13 gram of sugar and 6.73 grams of fat.(1)
Caramel Coated Popcorns
A serving of caramel-coated popcorns contains 10.89 grams of sugar and 1.87 gram of fat.(1) Depending on the brands and how you have cooked it the sugar and fat content vary in caramel popcorns. People can check the nutritional information before buying the premixed popcorns.
Nutritional Value and Health Benefits of Popcorn
Popcorn is a whole grain and comes from a group of seeds including barley, millet, oats, rice, and wheat. Whole grains contain dietary protein, vitamins, minerals, and beneficiary fats.
Popcorns Are A Good Fiber Source
Being whole grain popcorn is high in fiber, which is good for digestive health and regulating bowel movements. According to the US department of agriculture, 3 cups of the serving of air-popped popcorns contain 3.5 gram of fiber.(1)
Protein is required for many processes in the body such as blood clotting, fluid balance, immune response, and vision. It is required for building and repairing the cells of the body. Though not much popcorn is a protein source and can be beneficial if eaten.
Vitamins and Minerals
Air-popped popcorns are a good source of various vitamins and minerals including calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin K.
Helps in Weight Loss
Air-popped popcorns are low in calories, fats, and sugar. Eating them as a part of a balanced diet can help people lose weight. Healthy weight loss can be achieved by eating healthy, physical activity, and balancing the number of calories consumed and burned. Along with fruits, vegetables, and wholegrain, popcorn can also gain access to the list of diet food for those planning to lose weight.
Food low in saturated fats, Trans fats, and cholesterol are good choices and popcorns fulfil the criteria. Although air-popped popcorns are best to be included in the weight loss diet, popping salted and sweet ones, once and in reasonable portion will not do any harm.
Popcorns can be helpful to those with diabetes only if eaten in moderation. Unsweetened, unsalted, and air-popped popcorns contain around 78% of carbohydrates. Since carbohydrates break down into sugar in the body, people with diabetes need to keep a watch on how much they consume, to avoid complications. Diabetics need to work out with a healthcare team to make sure how much carbohydrate consumption is right for them. This can make them judge whether popcorns can fit into their diet or not.
Popcorn Provides More Iron Than Spinach
Though not much, the iron content of popcorn is more than that of spinach. 28 grams of spinach contain 0.9 mg of iron whereas 30 grams of spinach contains 0.8 mg of iron, which is not much but still popcorn gains a point more than spinach.
Popcorn can be a healthy snack depending on its preparation. The air-popped, unsweetened, and unsalted variety can help you count on it in filling the gap of reaching the nutritional requirement of the day.