Everyone loves to eat popcorn, fluffy corns with a hard waffery core.
You can find popcorn in any gathering, be it a hangout with friends or in a movie theater. Coupled with cheese, caramel, butter, spices, this snack is the only type of corn that pops. Discovery of pop kernels in the caves of New Mexico(9000 years back) proved many things. This zea mays everta (popcorn) was savoured by our ancestors years old. By the same token, native Americans used dried herbs and spices for making popcorn soup and beer, even made popcorn headdresses and corsages. So lets get deep into is popcorn a whole grain.
Science Behind Popping| Is popcorn a whole grain?
A yellow pod forming into a while flake, so soft that it melts in the mouth just like that:
Each kernel contains small amount of water. When heated, the water residing turns into steam. As the kernel’s shell is not water permeable hence the steam cannot escape. Further pressure continues to increase until the hull ruptures at a temperature of 180 °C. Together with toddling and turning inside out popcorn performs a summer sault. Ideally it should have a moisture content of around 13.5%.
Popcorn: Healthy Snack
Air popped popcorn is the healthiest snack you can ever come across. It has more protein than any cereal grain, more iron than eggs/roast beef even more fiber than potato chips.
Moreover it helps in building bones and muscle tissues and have prominent digestive actions. It is also rich in antioxidants (polyphenols).
High in fiber and low in calories, this whole grain food can be eaten as part of healthy diet including six serving of grains everyday. Plain, air-popped popcorn contains about 30 calories and 1 gram of fiber per cup.
Popcorn nutrition (30g)
A table given below depicts the nutrition value of popcorn:
It is highly rich in Polyphenols, these are antioxidants that helps in protection of body cells from damage of free radicals.
Providing better blood circulation, improved digestive health and a reduced risk of many diseases, they even reduce the risk of cancer (including prostate and breast cancer)
High in fiber, it helps in weight loss and promotes digestive health. It contains 15 grams of fiber in every 100 grams of it. Fulfilling the daily intake of fiber: 25 g for women and 38 g for me, it promotes gastrointestinal health generally filling in nature and has energy enhancing carbohydrates. Relatively low in calories and having low energy density, popcorn is a weight loss friendly food.
Instead of proving sufficient amount, popcorn supplies trace amounts of the B vitamins: thiamin, niacin, B6 and folate, and the minerals: magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, copper and iron.
One cup of popcorn supplies 6 grams of carbohydrates. Moreover little fat present naturally in popcorn is in the form of healthier monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Popcorn contains no saturated or trans fats which are bad for your health.
Indeed popcorn is a healthy snack till the time it is prepared the right way.
Using the correct way with minimal amount of correct ingredient is the key to this healthy snack. Popcorn can either be super healthy or extremely unhealthy, depending on how you prepare.
Sometimes it is served with fats, sugar, and salt which can be unhealthy at times, driving into overeating.
Because of fast life and less time people are preferring to a convenient method to consume popcorn leading to pre-parcked microwave vairety.
Are these microwavable popcorn healthy?
Most microwave bags are lined with a chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which are associated with a variety of health problems including ADHD, low birth weight and thyroid problems, to name a few .They also contain diacetyl, which is a chemical found in artificial butter flavoring. They are risky to consume as they certainly damage airways and cause lung diseases
Many brands of microwave popcorn are made using hydrogenated or partially-hydrogenated oils, which contain harmful trans fats.
Air popped popcorn is naturally a healthy snack. With the addition of cheese, caramel, salt, sugar the nutritive value of popcorn decreases. In the same time the energy level increases tremendously. In a movie theater whether ordering caramel popcorn or cheese popcorn, consider your conscience again. Given that theater popcorn are rich in trans fat and artificial favouring, it is better to be moderate.
Here is a table with different types of popcorn and their energy level:
|Popcorn Type||Calories (Typical)|
|Caramel with peanuts||230|
|source – buzzle.com|