Air-popped and lightly seasoned popcorn are a delight every season, for no particular reason! Isn’t it? And let’s be honest, movie nights are incomplete without a bucket of popcorn by your side. Popcorn is simply a vegetable turned into a snack. But is this snack healthy? Let’s find out.
Well, eating popcorn in moderation is good. However, eating them every day may not a good idea. To understand all the benefits and side effects of popcorn, Health Shots spoke to Dt Deepti Lokeshappa, Senior Consultant, Nutritionist, and Dietitian, Motherhood Hospital, Indiranagar, Bengaluru.
Is popcorn healthy?
Popcorn can be crunchy, salty, sweet, savoury, cheesy, and chocolate-covered. And we adore this whole grain snack for a variety of reasons, but mostly because it is full of nutrients and has many health advantages. BUT you must pay attention to the cooking process! Whether or not popcorn is nutritious depends on how it is made.
Making popcorn with ingredients such as excessive salt, sugar, butter, or oil can lead to overeating and ruin the health factor that the snack is known for. But homemade popcorn made with avocado oil or olive oil can be a nutritious addition to your diet every day. Let’s take a look at some of the health advantages of popcorn and how it can be harmful to your health if you don’t make it right.
Read the health benefits of popcorn:
1. Popcorn is high in polyphenol antioxidants
This antioxidant is known to help in protecting our cells from getting damaged by free radicals. They are also linked to other health benefits including better blood circulation, improved digestive health, and a reduced risk of many diseases.
2. High in fibre
Popcorn is high in fiber and is estimated to reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. It also helps in improving digestive health.
3. Popcorn helps in weight loss
If you feel like eating something, popcorn can be a great option as a snack as it is high in fiber, low in calories, and has a low energy density.
How can popcorn be harmful to your health?
There are still a few things to think about even if popcorn is a nutritious snack choice. As per Dr Lokeshappa, “Pre-packed microwave popcorn may be dangerous. Despite being widely available and in trend, they frequently contain chemicals like PFOA and diacetyl that are bad for your health.” It might also contain harmful trans fats, which you should stay away from.
The plainer the popcorn, the healthier (fewer calories) your snack will be. However, this does not imply that you must constantly consume bland popcorn. You can occasionally have seasoned popcorn as it has no substantial negative effects on your health.
Also read: Replace your regular snacks with these 9 protein snacks for faster weight loss
Some of the ingredients can be avoided while making popcorn –
Popcorn’s natural nutritional value can be destroyed if it isn’t processed properly. Popcorn purchased from stores or movie theatres is frequently covered with harmful fats, artificial flavourings, and excessive levels of sugar and salt. All of which can be detrimental to our health as these components significantly increase the number of calories in the snack.
The homemade method of making popcorn is the only way to go if you want to consume it in a healthy manner.