Eating popcorn is one of the healthiest snack habits you can adopt for a number of reasons, including the fact that it helps to fight cancer, fills you up with fiber and has more antioxidants than vegetables and fruits. Here are five healthy reasons for you to adopt popcorn as a snack of choice.
Popcorn gives you whole grain
Popcorn is the only snack that is 100 percent unprocessed whole grain. Just one serving contains more than 70 percent of the recommended daily whole grain intake.
Popcorn may help relieve constipation
Since popcorn is all whole grain, its insoluble fiber helps keep your digestive track in check and prevents constipation. A 2008 study found that people who ate popcorn on a regular basis increased their daily fiber intake by 22 percent and their overall whole grain intake by a whopping 250 percent. But eating more fibrous foods is only one way to relieve constipation.
It has few calories—when popped the right way
When we talk about the benefits of eating popcorn, we’re talking about air-popped popcorn, not the fatty, butter-drenched stuff that are sold in cinemas. The Center for Science in the Public Interest found that the medium and large popcorn sizes at Regal theaters each had 1,200 calories and 60 grams of saturated fat.
The healthiest type of popcorn is air-popped, which only has 30 calories. You can use a hot air popper or try this hack: Put 3-4 tablespoons of kernels in a brown paper bag, fold the top of the bag twice to make sure it’s closed, and then microwave for two minutes, or until there are only a few seconds between pops.
Popcorn could be healthier than fruits and vegetables
Scientists from the University of Scranton found that popcorn is loaded with polyphenols, compounds found in plants that act as antioxidants and can reduce inflammation.
Polyphenols are heavily diluted in fruits and vegetables, which are 90 percent water. Popcorn on its part is made up of about 4 percent water, so the polyphenols are more highly concentrated, especially in the hulls (the hard shells that get stuck in your teeth). However, popcorn doesn’t have many other vitamins and nutrients, so it can’t completely replace fruits and veggies in your diet.
Popcorn may help fight cancer
One of the many powers of polyphenols, is their ability to block enzymes that cancers need to grow and, in doing so, regulate the spread of cancerous cells.
The traditional way to reap these health benefits is by eating fruits and vegetables, but the high concentration of polyphenols makes eating popcorn a healthy alternative. Since they can also prevent the build up of inflammation and plaque, foods rich in polyphenols can help prevent cardiovascular disease.