Popcorn is perhaps the most perfect and perfectly named snack. “Popcorn” aptly describes what it is as well as the sound it makes as it transmutes into its final fluffy snack form. Popcorn is tasty, cheap, easy to make and will even help you floss between your teeth. But the pillowy, crunchy, inside-out kernels of goodness are hiding some even better benefits.
Popcorn is a wholesome snack that, while not a great substitute for fruits and vegetables, is a good alternative to many other snacks.
Popcorn is pretty unique as a snack as it is 100% unprocessed whole grain. You know that doctors and nutritionists love to tout the greatness of whole grains. They may not know exactly what makes whole grains so great, but they are, and popcorn is a great whole grain. One serving gives you most of the recommended daily intake of whole grains… and really… who eats just one serving of popcorn?! And because it is whole grain, popcorn is also fairly high in fiber, so it can help you feel fuller at the same time as it helps protect against the buildup of bad cholesterol and the risk of heart disease.
Popcorn has been around for literally thousands of years, but it’s only been a relatively short time that we’ve known how nutritious this simple snack can be. In fact, it’s quite recent that science has discovered that popcorn (especially the hull portion that gets stuck between your teeth or on the back of your throat) is high in polyphenols and ferulic acid, two natural antioxidants. Our friends at Dr. Sager’s SkinCare say that popcorn has more polyphenols by weight than you find in many fruits and vegetables!
Because so much of popcorn’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant nutrients exist in its insoluble hull, there is some debate how well the polyphenols and ferulic acid is absorbed by the body. Still, popcorn is a wholesome snack that, while not a great substitute for fruits and vegetables, is a good alternative to many other snacks. Popcorn is best air popped versus microwaving and obviously once you start covering your perfect popcorn in salt, butter, fake butter, caramel, etc you begin to change it from a wholesome snack to simply junk food. So keep it simple and light, the way nature intended.