Some of the foods we eat are full of mysteries we don’t know. One of these is popcorn. While some of us might simply say that it’s a healthy, low-calorie snack (particularly associated with watching a movie) it serves more purpose than satisfying our tastebuds. It can also provide many healthy benefits! Cravings aside, popcorn helps promote weight loss, prevent aging, prevent cognitive declination, prevent cancer, protect bones, improve digestive process, lower cholesterol and regulate blood sugar.
What is Popcorn?
Put simply, popcorn is a type of corn with a hard shell, also known as a hull or endosperm. Its starchy interior, when put over heat, increases in pressure until the kernel pops. There are several varieties of popcorn, including microwave popcorn pre-packed in a folded bags filled with butter and flavouring.
There is evidence that popcorn has traditionally been enjoyed by various cultures for over 6,000 years. Corn itself has been a staple of diets since ancient times. Many believe that the accidental heating of the plant led to the discovery of popcorn. The earliest traces of consumption lead back to Peru, but broader Central America and New Mexico have also shown evidence of eating popcorn as early as 5,000 years ago.
Popcorn may come in various colors, dependent on the color of the original corn kernel. While many people all over the world enjoy the snack, it also has a limitation to being a healthy food. Additives such as butter, artificial flavor and salt turns it into an unhealthy junk food.
However, plain popcorn is not only a delicious snack, but it also provides many amazing health benefits. It is enough to simply heat up the popcorn. Avoid cooking it with oil, because this can impact the polyphenolic content of the hull once it pops, negating many of the health benefits.
Nutrition Facts of Popcorn
Of course, without the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that are in popcorn, its health benefits would merely be a figment of the imagination. Some of the more impressive contents of popcorn are:
- Vitamin B complex
- Antioxidant properties
- Polyphenolic compounds
- Fiber content
Health Benefits of Popcorn
Here are some of the best health benefits of popcorn:
Prevents aging. Free radicals may cause a lot of problems with one’s health, potentially resulting in health issues like dementia, macular degeneration, cognitive declination, age spots and more. Popcorn can be beneficial in these cases, helping make you feel happy and eventually preventing the signs of aging. This is mainly due to the antioxidant properties of the snack, which fights the effect of free radicals.
Helps prevent cancer. Researchers show that the antioxidant properties of popcorn are beneficial in the prevention of cancer. Actually, the hull of popcorn contains high levels of polyphenolic compounds. Furthermore, the antioxidant properties of popcorn are also powerful protective agents that help eliminate free radicals.
Helps control blood sugar levels. When our body has high fiber level, it helps regulate the release and management of insulin and blood sugar levels. The reduction of the blood sugar fluctuations is a major bonus for those suffering from diabetes.
Lowers cholesterol. The fiber present in popcorn helps strip off excess cholesterol from the arteries and blood vessel walls, thus reducing overall cholesterol levels and, in turn, lowering the chances of cardiovascular illnesses like strokes, heart attacks and atherosclerosis. Furthermore, it also helps reduce strain on the cardiac system by eliminating the need for the heart to work hard to pump blood through clogged arteries and vessels.
Helps improve digestion. One important thing to remember about popcorn is that it is a whole grain. This makes it part of the grain family, which contains bran, germ and endosperm. Popcorn holds all of its fiber content, vitamin E, vitamin B complex, and more in its bran. The fiber content mainly helps regulate bowel movements, allowing your bowels to move smoothly into the intestinal muscles and induce digestive juice secretion. This makes a healthy digestive system.