Health Benefits of Popcorn
Often considered to be junk food, popcorn can actually be part of a healthy diet. Popcorn has a many health benefits.
Full of Fiber
Popcorn is high in fiber, an important substance for the body that encourages healthy digestion and regularity.
A Healthy Snack
When it’s not coated in butter or fattening oils, popcorn can be a very healthy replacement for potato chips and other high-calorie snacks that are often full of saturated fat.
A Whole Grain
Popcorn, like any other whole grain, diminishes the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Easy on the Butter
Popcorn is healthiest in its butter-free, air-popped variety. Adding butter or oil can increase the level of saturated fat.
Low In Calories
Unbuttered popcorn only has about 40 calories per cup.
Endorsed as part of the USDA’s most recent Dietary Guidelines, popcorn also gets props from the National Cancer Institute, American Dental Association and American Dietetic Association, which cite it as a nutritious nosh that can help fend off diabetes and some cancers.
The Journal of the American Dietetic Association even reports that a study by the Center for Human Nutrition found that popcorn fans have a higher overall intake of fiber – 22 percent more than others – that reduces their risk for cardiovascular disease.
Popcorn even can help you whittle your waist. How? Foods rich in fiber take longer to eat, make you feel full sooner and help you resist eating other diet-busting snacks.
Popcorn’s popularity as a nutritious treat continues to grow worldwide, with the U.S. remaining the primary producer and Americans the top consumers. More than 17 billion quarts of popped popcorn annually – or about 68 quarts per person.
And while you may think that gourmet popcorn versions are a modern phenomenon , let’s give credit where credit is due: Native Americans first sprinkled the popped kernels with herbs and spices, and the Colonists even poured milk over them and ate them for breakfast!
NEW STUDY: Popcorn Snackers Get More Whole Grains
Here’s a kernel of truth: daily popcorn snackers may be more likely to hit their quota of whole grains. Reports a study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. Researchers surveyed more than 15,000 people and found that popcorn poppers consumed an average of 2.5 servings of whole grains per day; non–’corn connoisseurs got 0.7 servings (the RDA is three servings).