Popcorn: The Most Under-Rated Healthy Snack!

Posted by Ed 20 mths ago
Popcorn is a type of corn that when heated, the pressure inside the hull builds until eventually it explodes and the thrill of the pop begins. Enjoyed by many for thousands of years, popcorn not only tastes great but also comes packed with a whole heap of somewhat surprising health benefits....

100% Wholegrain Snack
Popcorn is 100% wholegrain snack, meaning that it contains all parts of the seed - the endosperm, bran and germ.

"One serving of popcorn will provide more than 70 percent of the recommneded daily intake of whole grain. The average person only gets about half a serving of whole grains a day, and popcorn could fill that gap in a very pleasant way.” Joe Vinson, Ph.D, University of Scranton, Pennsylvania

Many grains are 'refined' and have the bran and germ removed. Unfortunately, with the bran and germ goes much of the nutritional value (i.e. around 17 key nutrients). Because popcorn retains all three parts of the seed, it becomes a great source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants...
Sky-High Antioxidant Levels
Surprisingly it turns out that popcorn has higher levels of antioxidants than fruits and vegetables! The antioxidants are found in the hull (the annoying bit that gets stuck in your teeth!) and are called polyphenols, Like all antioxidants, polyphenols help protect against cancers, heart disease and other illnesses that are caused by free radicals (cells that attack other healthy ones).

Of course fruits and veggies are loaded with antioxidants too, but as they contain so much water, the concentration is diluted. Popcorn, on the other hand, comprises only four percent water, so the antioxidants - which help fight inflammation, are packed into these tiny kernels. Just so you get an idea, it has been found that the amount of polyphenols found in popcorn is up to 300 milligrams per serving compared to 114 milligrams per serving of sweet corn and 160 milligrams per serving in any fruit (Source: American Chemical Society)

Improves Digestion
Being whole grain, popcorn contains a whole heap of fibre which helps improve digestion and keep us regular. A fibre-rich diet also helps reduce of risk of heart attacks, by sweeping excess cholesterol from artery walls.
A Word of Warning...

I have a number of issues with microwave popcorn, the first being the ingredients...

Microwave popcorn contains more inflammatory vegetable oils than I want my family to eat, and a bucket load more salt too. Most contain other preservatives, colourings and other questionable "natural" additives/flavourings, some of which have been linked to allergies and mood disturbance in children.

Next up is the bag it comes in – it is lined with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which is damaging to the environment and our bodies. When heated this chemical has been linked to infertility and cancer (among other things) and in fact, is classified by the US Environmental Protection Agency as a carcinogen. Ummm... this poses a bit of a problem, given the whole idea is that these bags and their contents are heated up in the microwave!

Then just to add insult to injury, once the popcorn begins to pop, some of the chemicals in the packaging material actually breaks down, leaches into the popcorn, and destroys some of the phenolic compounds of the hull, decreasing its ability to protect our bodies from free radicals.

The Solution: Make Your Own!

So let's get popping! Popping kernels on the stove really is so simple. I normally add a touch of coconut oil to the bottom of the pot, but any oil with a high smoking point, such as sunflower, safflower or sesame would be fine. Or of course, the old favourite, butter.

I always opt for NZ grown organic popping corn as for one its guaranteed to be GMO free, it cuts down on the food miles, is affordable (particularly if you buy a 3kg bag), plus is guaranteed to be free of glyphosate and other nasty chemicals.

As a child I don't remember flavouring popcorn with anything beyond butter and a little salt, or sometimes even icing sugar. Whilst I'm still a little partial to salty, buttery goodness, this is just the beginning. Whether you like it just as it is, sweet or salty, there is something for everybody....
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted1/2 cup popcorn kernels1/8 teaspoon sea salt or Himalayan salt1-1/2 tablespoons nutritional yeast1-1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
** Makes 12 cups **
Heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and popcorn kernels on medium-high heat in a pot that is large enough for kernels to be in a single layer. Cover pot!
Once kernels begin to pop. Gently shake the pot back and forth until the popping slows to 5 seconds between pops.
Turn off the heat. Drizzle popcorn with remaining coconut oil and toss with salt, nutritional yeast, and smoked paprika. Easy!
Happy Popping!Wishing you a wonderful weekend.

Please support our advertisers:

< Back to main category

Login now