Popcorn has been around for a very long time. In fact, kernels found in caves in Mexico in 1948 date back almost 5,600 years. But that’s not the only reason popcorn is amazing. As it turns out, popcorn can actually be good for you. Not just a less-bad-for-you snack than a bag of potato chips, but actually good for your health.
Even though there are hundreds of popcorn flavors, there are barely any calories. There’s this connotation about popcorn that makes everyone feel guilty for eating it, but that has nothing to do with the popcorn itself — just the stuff they put on it. A small serving of air-popped popcorn only has about 30 calories. It should be noted though, that movie theater popcorn doesn’t have to be incredibly bad for you. Sure, because it’s popped with oil and butter, it’s not going to be the best choice you’ve made recently, but the kernels themselves still have health properties, which we’ll cover momentarily.
Hold on to your hats people, this one may shock you: popcorn can potentially be healthier for you than vegetables. Scientists have found polyphenols in popcorn, which are compounds normally found in fruits and vegetables. Polyphenols behave like antioxidants, reduce inflammation, and can be extremely good for your health. Fruits and vegetables’ polyphenol concentration is quite low since their composition is mostly water and therefore the compounds are diluted. Popcorn, however, is only 4% water and thus has very strong concentrations of polyphenol compounds.
As a side note, even though popcorn takes the crown in this category, fruits and vegetables provide many other nutrients that popcorn does not. You shouldn’t substitute popcorn for fruits and vegetables in your diet.
The polyphenols in popcorn have another super trait: they fight cancer. Polyphenols hinder the cancer cells’ ability to spread throughout the body by blocking the enzymes that the cancer cells need for growth. Normally fruits and vegetables would be the main source of cancer-fighting polyphenols, but now that you know about popcorn you can fight cancer and enjoy your late night snack at the same time.
There are other reasons why popcorn is good for you, and infinitely more reasons why you should eat it (number one being that it tastes good). Many stores offer variations of popcorn flavors such as gourmet popcorn, kettle corn popcorn, cheddar cheese popcorn, and a whole lot of other popcorn flavors and varieties. What are you waiting for? Get your healthy snack on today.