Love That Popcorn

Popcorn is probably one of the most favorite snacks whether it’s at a ball game, watching TV or playing cards. In fact, popcorn remnants were found in the American Southwest dating back 2,500 years ago and in Peru and Mexico, as old as 5,000. I guess that makes it a favorite, right? But, is it good for you? A popcorn “boom” increased its popularity during the Great Depression because it was so inexpensive. Americans now eat around 1.2 billion pounds every year!

It will depend upon picking the right variety and cooking it properly. If this is done, popcorn can be relatively nutritious and provides a valuable source of fiber. It is relatively high in net carbs, so if you are trying to optimize your mitochondrial health, you need to limit your portion to an ounce or two.

Only 3.5 ounces of popcorn, a fairly modest portion, offers several important nutrients and an impressively high percentage to consumers in terms of recommended daily intake (RDI). Manganese has 56% of the RDI, and magnesium and phosphorus each have 36%. There is 21% of zinc while copper, vitamin B3, vitamin B6 and potassium have just under 10% each. Popcorn contains nutrients and compounds that are association with: regulated blood sugar, improved digestion, weight loss, reduced cholesterol levels and cancer prevention.  Popcorn retains the endosperm, germ and bran for fiber that sloughs your blood vessels and artery walls of excess cholesterol that helps to optimize cholesterol levels. This lowers your risk of heart attack, stroke and atherosclerosis.

Eating 3.5 ounces of popcorn will give you 389 calories and 15 grams of fiber, 78 grams of carbs, 13 grams of protein and 5 grams of fat. In the end popcorn is a very substantial food with benefits for every one of those vitamins and minerals. About 25-30 grams of fiber per 1,000 calories consumed per day are recommended. Popcorn also provides antioxidants that help to stave off premature aging as muscle weakness, osteoporosis, macular degeneration, cognitive decline, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Popcorn can help with weight loss because of the fiber and relatively low calories.

The experts say it’s GMO-free because 90% of the corn grown in the U.S. is genetically engineered (GE). Be careful!! I am not sure that is a true statement.

How you prepare that popcorn makes all the difference. If you air-pop the organic popcorn it contains far fewer calories than most other foods. Preparing in a microwave bag, however, presents innumerable hazards. This version will contain not just your popcorn but the chemical perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) linked to ADHA and hyperactivity in children, low birth weight and thyroid disease. Using the pseudo-butter is adding another dangerous diacetyl that may damage airways and precipitate lung disease. Choosing bagged popcorn for the microwave that has toppings, as caramel corn, will give you a whopping 65 grams of sugar.

Read your labels, but it’s probably best to choose good organic pure popping corn and use an air-popper. Be sparingly with that organic butter, and please don’t use those hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils. Read the labels to avoid the use of the dangerous toppings. Sit back in that easy chair, pull up a good movie and enjoy that healthy snack. And don’t forget to sprinkle a little, did I say a little? Yes, a little sea salt or Himalayan salt. You can try some Italian herbs on it too. Ummm.

– Dr Fredda Branyon