Why Is Popcorn Better Than Other Snacks?

If you love salted popcorn or any kind of popcorn for that matter, it is likely that you have asked yourself if popcorn is healthy. The great news is, yes it is! Popcorn is one of the healthiest snacks available—it has fiber and contains some of the antioxidants fruits and vegetables have. 

If you are a fan of salted popcorn or other types of popcorn, below are some of the reasons it is considered better than other snack options:

Popcorn only has a few calories.

The healthiest kind of popcorn is the air-popped variety, it only has 30 calories per cup. On the other hand, many of the popcorn sold at theaters typically have around 1,200 calories and at least 60 grams of saturated fat. 

Popcorn has antioxidants. 

This is something not many people know or even expect but yes, popcorn has antioxidants. A 2019 study published in the journal Antioxidants revealed that popcorn is loaded with polyphenols, a compound found in plants that reduces inflammation and acts as antioxidant.

Polyphenols are heavily diluted in vegetables and fruits because they are 90 percent water. However, popcorn is only made up of 4 percent water so there is a higher concentration of polyphenols especially in the hulls. The hulls are the hard shells that often end up getting stuck in the teeth.

According to a study done by the University of Scranton, a single popcorn serving contains up to 300 mg of polyphenols. This accounts for at least 13 percent of the daily intake of Americans. Vegetables bring in around 218 mg per day while fruits account for around 255 mg of polyphenols daily.

Popcorn might help fight cancer.

One of the exciting powers of polyphenol is its ability to block the enzyme that cancer cells need to grow. According to the American Institute of Cancer Research, in doing so, polyphenols help regulate the spread of cancerous cells. 

That said, aside from eating fruits and vegetables, adding popcorn in the mix would be a good idea. Since polyphenols can also help prevent plaque and inflammation buildup, foods that are rich in polyphenols (including popcorn) might help prevent cardiovascular disease. 

Popcorn can be a good source of whole grain.

Not everyone may be aware of it but popcorn is 100 percent unprocessed whole grain. A single popcorn serving contains over 70 percent of the recommended whole grain intake daily. Eating popcorn is also one of the best ways to get more fiber in your diet effortlessly.

Popcorn can help prevent constipation.

Since this healthy snack is all whole grain, the insoluble fiber it contains can keep the digestive tract in check and helps prevent constipation. A 3-cup serving of popcorn contains 3.5 grams of fiber.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) a high-fiber diet has a significant impact on digestive health and can help promote intestinal regularity.

Popcorn is the ideal dieting snack.

High-fiber foods like popcorn will require more time to digest compared to the non-fibrous variety so they can keep you fuller longer. Snacking on popcorn can also help you feel less tempted to consume fatty and sweet foods. Just make sure you don’t put too much salt or butter on your popcorn.

Popcorn is diabetic friendly.

While fiber is listed under total carbohydrates, it won’t have the same effect on your blood sugar as refined carbs such as white bread. Popcorn also does not contain a lot of digestible carbohydrate so it is effective at slowing the rate of digestion so there is gradual and low rise in blood sugar.

Jacqueline M. Faulkner

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