The Many Health Benefits Of Popcorn
Many times when people think of popcorn, they only envision eating it at a movie theater or during a comfy night at home watching television. There are a number of health benefits associated with eating it. It is a healthy snack that can do everything from help with regulating a person’s blood sugar to aid in the prevention of cancer and more.
- Anthropologists have been able to identify remnants of popcorn in Mexico and Peru dating as far back over 4,900 years ago. In fact remnants have been found in the American Southwest dating more than 2,450 years ago. In the 1820s, popcorn was sold under the names of Nonpareil or Pearl. In the 1840s, American magazines like the Yale Literary Review started referencing popcorn. The word popcorn was included in the dictionary starting in 1848. During the Great Depression, it became a very popular food because it was extremely inexpensive. Today, Americans are estimated to eat over a billion pounds of popcorn every year.
- Popcorn can provide a person’s body with important fiber. A serving of less than 4 ounces of popcorn can provide more than 14 grams of fiber. Diverticulitis is an inflammation of polyps in a person’s intestines. Consuming regular amounts of dietary fiber can decrease the chances of developing this condition by more than 39 percent. It can also provide relief for people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome. A high-fiber diet also decreases the chance of developing kidney stones, gallstones and more.
- Free radicals are produced in a person’s body to assist their metabolic process with operating more efficiently. When too many free radicals are produced, they can start to kill important enzymes in the body. Antioxidants have the ability to eliminate excess free radicals. Many scientists agree that it contains super antioxidants known as polyphenols. This can improve a person’s circulation as well as digestion and more. Studies suggest that popcorn contains more polyphenols that vegetables or fruits.
- Free radicals do more to a person’s body then kill important enzymes; they have also been linked to people experiencing age-related symptoms. This involves age spots, wrinkles, cognitive decline, dementia, osteoporosis as well as macular degeneration and blindness. Popcorn is a food that can help people feel happy and healthy as they age. This is a result of popcorn’s powerful ability to battle the effects of free radicals.
- A standard cup of popped popcorn contains less than 35 calories. That is estimated to be as much as five times fewer calories than the same amount of regular potato chips. The high level of fiber contained within popcorn makes a person feel full. Popcorn is known for its ability to restrict the release of ghrelin, which is a hunger hormone. This can be an important food for people who struggle with overeating. Popcorn can provide lower calories and enable people to feel full. It is low in saturated fats. The natural oils contained within popcorn are healthy for a person’s body.
- Popcorn is a whole grain. This means it has been determined to contain bran. Consuming popcorn is similar to eating breads, cereals as well as rice. Popcorn can stimulate peristaltic motion. This will relax a person’s intestinal muscles. It is a way for an individual to maintain the health of their digestive system.
- The fiber in popcorn can have a positive effect on a person’s blood sugar. When an individual’s body has a sufficient level of fiber, it can properly regulate the release of insulin as well as blood sugar. People who do not consume a sufficient amount of fiber experience fluctuations in their blood sugar. This is not good for people who have diabetes. Popcorn is a food that is recommended to anyone who must carefully manage their blood sugar levels.
- Popcorn does provide a person with trace levels of thiamin, niacin, B vitamins, B6 as well as folate. It also provides the minerals iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, zinc, and phosphorus. A single cup of popcorn can also supply over five grams of carbohydrates. Very little fat occurs naturally in popcorn. The fat popcorn does contain is healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. It has no trans fats or saturated fats, which are not good for a person’s health.
- Nutritionists agree that popcorn is a healthy snack. The problem comes when people overwhelm this healthy snack with too much butter, salt or other types of toppings. Doing this can reverse much of the healthy impact provided by popcorn. Health experts recommend people avoid microwave or pre-packaged popcorn. In these situations, an excessive amount of butter and salt have already been included. Once microwave popcorn begins to pop, there are chemicals in the packaging that can break down or destroy the phenolic compounds provided by the hull of the corn.