The pros and cons of popcorn


Here are some of the highs and low of this tasty popped snack writes Caitlin de Kok


Popcorn consists of the entire corn kernel that pops when heated. This means that popcorn is a fantastic, unprocessed whole-grain snack. Studies have shown that popcorn eaters consume an average of 250 percent more whole grains than non-popcorn eaters.


Perfluorooctanoic acid is one of the additives in microwave popcorn and acts as a non-stick coating, ensuring that your warm popcorn won’t stick to the container in which it’s cooked. This same chemical is also used in the production of pizza boxes and firefighting foams. It’s definitely not good for you, so always check the ingredients of your microwave popcorn.


Dietary fibre is a major benefit of whole grains. Popcorn provides about four grams of dietary fibre for every four cups of popped corn. Good fibre intake not only helps you to stay regular but may also lower your risk of cardiovascular disease, reduce blood cholesterol and lower your risk of type 2 diabetes by regulating blood sugar.


Trans and saturated fats – many microwave popcorns have high levels of unwanted and unhealthy fats. These fats are usually introduced butter or similar flavourings. These fats can raise cholesterol and cause health problems later in life. Ditch the pre-made buttery popcorn and add your own farm-fresh butter after it has been popped.


Polyphenols: these powerful antioxidants are usually found in fruit but studies have found the concentration of polyphenols in popcorn surpasses that of most fruit. Polyphenols have shown to possess numerous health benefits, including the prevention of degenerative diseases such as osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, cancer, neurodegenerative diseases and diabetes.


Sodium, or salt, is a favourite topping for popcorn. Salt, as we all know, can have numerous negative health implications if consumed in excess. Salt can lead to high blood pressure and related health problems.

The bottom line is that popcorn can be very healthy, but with all things in life, a quick and easy fix such as microwave popcorn can be as bad for you as it is good. So stick to homemade popcorn and go easy on the salt for a healthy snack! An air popper can also work well if you want an easy, no-fuss method of making popcorn.

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