The Health Benefits of Popcorn

It’s time to start thinking about all those popcorn tins filled with all kinds of guilty pleasures that can satiate your sweet tooth. People want to find smarter ways to snack throughout the day, and some dismiss popcorn out of hand because they immediately think of movie theater popcorn. But is popcorn all that bad for you?

Admittedly, there’s no way to save popcorn that’s been smothered in all kinds of sugar and oil. However, that doesn’t mean you must banish all popcorn from your diet to remain fit and healthy. Popcorn has many health benefits — including lowering the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers — making it one of the best snacks for health-conscious people. Here are a few of the vital health benefits that popcorn has:

It’s High in Fiber and Other Nutrients

One of the most important benefits of popcorn is its richness in fiber and other important nutrients for a healthy body. Popcorn is whole grain, making it part of a group of grain foods high in fiber. In fact, some servings of popcorn can have as much as 15 grams of dietary fiber, which can help make up half of your daily recommended serving, depending on who you are.

Air-popped popcorn is delicious and also one of the best types you can get to maximize the benefits of popcorn. They are low in calories and easy to make, as all you have to do is throw them into an air popper. Eating popcorn from air poppers also allows you to add a bit of flavor through salt and butter, as you will likely use much less in one cup of air-popped popcorn than you’d do if you were to eat regular popped or microwave popcorn.

Popcorn contains nutrients such as folate, niacin, and riboflavin, in addition to B vitamins, iron, and magnesium. These nutrients are known to prevent certain conditions and provide your body with important health improvements and support you need to function efficiently. In addition to the above nutrients, a serving of popcorn will contain:

  • Vitamin B1
  • Vitamin B3
  • Vitamin B6
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Zinc
  • Copper
  • Manganese

It’s Also High in Antioxidants

However, popcorn isn’t just high in fiber; it’s also rich in antioxidants. Most commonly associated with berries, antioxidants can help protect your body from certain forms of cell damage that have been linked to cancers and different circulatory diseases.

Specifically, popcorn is rich in polyphenol antioxidants. Polyphenol has been linked to improving blood circulation and regulating digestive health and may help reduce the risk of certain cancers, including prostate and breast cancer. 

It’s Filling

One of the challenges people have with snacking is feeling full enough between big meals. Snacking smarter means finding nutritious snacks that deliver on flavor and that full feeling everyone craves. Due to its high fiber content, popcorn is actually quite filling. Its ability to satisfy your hunger while providing a relatively low-calorie count helps with cravings and overall weight loss goals.

However, it’s worth noting that, like all good things, moderation is key. Even though popcorn is low in calories, it’s still possible to overeat, which can get in the way of losing weight if that’s your primary aim. Stay mindful of the recommended serving sizes on the packaging and plan your snacks accordingly.

It’s Versatile

It’s not just about what popcorn can do as the star of the snack show. Popcorn can serve as the basis for many different snacks and even some full-fledged dishes, making it a great food to help you reach your health goals. For example, it can be finely crushed and used as a substitute for breadcrumbs or breaded cutlets to add more nutritional value to your mealtime. But watch out for the type of popcorn you use!

Flavored popcorns will take the flavors they have been enhanced with, and if left unchecked, these flavors can overwhelm the dish, so consider going for the unflavored variety and adding spices yourself.

Be Mindful of the Additives

When considering potential options for healthy snacks, it goes beyond the number of calories on the nutrition label. You want to examine the ingredients list and make sure that the ingredients don’t include added sugars and other potentially unhealthy ingredients that can negate the benefits of popcorn.

It Can Help With Weight Loss

Ultimately, the key to sustained weight loss is finding a diet you can stick to without feeling like you’re depriving yourself. With moderation and being mindful of the ingredients, popcorn can quickly become a welcome addition to your diet plan, and you can begin reaping the health benefits of this versatile snack. And if you mistakenly take a few more bites of your popcorn than you meant to, you won’t ruin an entire day of your diet.

How to Ensure Your Popcorn Is Healthy

So you know that popcorn is healthy, but how can you ensure you get most of the benefits of popcorn without ruining the meal with saturated fat and other unhealthy ingredients? While we discussed the benefits of air-popped popcorn and avoiding unnecessary additives, are there different ways to maximize the health benefits of your popcorn?

Use Oils

When air popping or cooking your popcorn, extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, or walnut oils are great options. These oils are the best combination of effectiveness while cooking and avoid the unhealthy fats and ingredients that negatively affect blood sugar levels. You can also use canola oil, but you’re better off sticking to one of the other options. Avoid sunflower, soybean, and corn oils when in doubt, as they will quickly turn a healthy idea into an unhealthy reality.

Add Proteins

If you want to ensure your popcorn stays a healthy low-calorie snack, consider adding proteins to your meal. Proteins can help you gain muscle with your snack and help you feel fuller in the process. Don’t forget, they also taste good! Put down the potato chips and add a bit of cheese or peanut butter on the side for an exquisite taste to your popcorn without the unhealthy aspects.

Avoid Microwave Popcorn 

Microwave popcorn contains a hefty dose of salt and unhealthy artificial flavors that negates many of the benefits of the snack. In addition, microwave popcorn comes in large bags that promote unhealthy eating habits and large portions that add way too much of the bad and not enough of the good.

Buy Your Popcorn From a Popcorn Expert!

If making popcorn isn’t your thing, there are good popcorn companies that specialize in giving you the best-tasting popcorn with all of the good ingredients you want. You can get popcorn in multiple flavors and sizes, and the experts can help you identify which menu option is best for you based on the criteria you determine to be important.

Get Your Healthy Popcorn From Best Darn Kettlecorn!

If you’re like us, just reading this has you craving a bit of popcorn! Get a dose of some beautiful kettle corn from Best Darn Kettlecorn. If you’re traversing Bristol, PA, and the surrounding areas of Bucks County, you can get the health benefits of popcorn through our variety of tasty treats. Explore our options and choose the flavors of kettle corn or popcorn that appeal to you!

Now that you have read up on the health benefits of popcorn, it’s time to put your knowledge to the test! Try our quiz now!