Updated 11/02/2021 by Dan Jackowiak Nc, HHP
Popcorn, a whole grain food, a variety of flint corn, is one of the oldest and most widely consumed snacks in the world. The kernels contain water and when heated the water converts into steam and makes the kernel expand 20-50 times its size, therefore they are called “pop”corn. It is produced in most of the countries around the globe with US, China, Brazil, Argentina, Ukraine, and India are top producing countries in the world. United States is the top producer and consumer of popcorn. Americans spend millions of dollars a year on Popcorn.
Humans have known popcorn for centuries. Archaeological studies have found remnants of popcorn from 3600BC. Some sources claim that variety of corn similar to popcorn was domesticated by pre-Columbian people around 5000 BC. The exact time period of when “popping” started is unknown. It is believed that during first half of 19th century people used popcorn as a late night snacks and at picnics and parties. By the end of 19th century, the mass consumption started in US after the popcorn machine invention by Charles Cretors. The consumption vastly increased during World War II due to diminishing candy production. In 1981, the use of pop corns sharply increased after the issuance of 1st microwave popcorn bag patent.
There are a variety of nutrients in popcorn including dietary fibers, proteins, minerals and vitamins with surprising health benefits. All these nutrients have proven health benefits.
Vitamin and Minerals in Popcorn:
Popcorn is rich in vitamins and minerals including Vitamin B, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Magnesium, Iron copper and Zinc. 100 grams of microwave popcorns contain
Niacin=2.070 mcg ( 13% of DV ), Thiamin=0.350 mcg ( 29% of DV ) Vitamin B6= 0.170 mg ( 13% of DV ), Vitamin E= 2.01 mg ( 22% of DV ), Vitamin K= 15.7 mcg ( 13% of DV ), 0.545 mg ( 61% of Copper ), Iron = 2.28 mg ( 13% of DV ), Magnesium= 151 mg ( 38% of DV ), Phosphorus = 264 mg ( 38% of DV) , Zinc = 3.83 mg ( 35% of DV ).
Antioxidants in Popcorn
Popcorn is an excellent source of antioxidants. The antioxidants present in popcorn are polyphenol compounds with proven health benefits. A study found that a serving of popcorn contains up to 300 mg of antioxidants. Furthermore, the popping does not have any effect on the polyphenol content.
There are a variety of healthy nutrients in popcorn, but health benefits of popcorn largely depends on how it is prepared. The additives such as oil, salt and sugar negatively effect the health potential of popcorn.
Popcorn can be unhealthy especially when oil, salt, and sugars are added to them. Many commercially available packaged popcorn contains some unhealthy additives which are not good for human health. The health risks of consuming such popcorn products are:
The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for three cups of popcorn (24g) air-popped without added butter, salt, or oil.
Air popped popcorn has a glycemic index of 55, which is on the upper end of low and is considered acceptable for diabetics. The glycemic load of that 3 cups of popcorn would come in at 10. If you took into account that the 3.6 grams of fiber is going to offset the same amount of carbs, the glycemic load would come in at 8.25. This is borderline on the Candida Diet but would more than likely be ok.
Now if you cut that serving size in half so it only contained 9g of carbs, the glycemic load would be 5, which would be more than acceptable as an occasional snack. Two cups would have a glycemic load of 7 and would probably be ok as well.
Make sure you pop it yourself and don't use packaged products such as microwavable popcorn, which does contain chemicals that are not healthy for anyone. Using Sea or Himalayan salt and butter to taste is acceptable as well on the Candida Diet.
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