Popcorn: An healthy snack

Popcorn is that snack you go for when at the movies or just plain hungry but I guess you haven't paused to reflect about its side effects or health benefits. Air-filled popcorn without the usual junk of butter and sugar is absolutely healthy. Let's see how healthy. Lowers Cholesterol Levels Fiber functions in a beneficial way within the body, and whole grains contain the type of fiber which can strip off excess cholesterol from the walls of blood vessels and arteries, thereby reducing your overall cholesterol levels, and lowering your chances of dangerous cardiovascular conditions like atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes. This also reduces the strain on the cardiac system, since the heart doesn’t need to work so hard to move blood through clogged vessels and arteries. Controls Blood Sugar Another vital role of fiber is its impact on blood sugar within the body. When the body has ample amounts of fiber, it regulates the release and management of blood sugar and insulin levels better than people with low levels of fiber. Reducing these fluctuations in blood sugar is a major bonus for diabetic patients, so popcorn is always a recommendation if you suffer from that difficult disease. Prevents cancer One of the many powers of polyphenols, like those found in popcorn, is their ability to block enzymes that cancers need to grow and, in doing so, regulate the spread of cancerous cells. The traditional way to reap these health benefits is by eating fruits and vegetables (it’s also one of the ways cancer doctors avoid cancer), but the high concentration of polyphenols makes popcorn a healthy alternative. Since they can also prevent inflammation and plaque build up, foods rich in polyphenols can help prevent cardiovascular disease. Prevents Aging Free radicals do a lot more damage than cancer; they have been closely linked to of age-related symptoms like wrinkles, age spots, macular degeneration and blindness, muscle weakness, cognitive decline, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, hair loss, and a wide variety of other things we generally don’t look forward to as we age. Popcorn can keep you feeling healthy and happy well into your old age thanks to the powerful antioxidants that combat these effects of free radicals. Diabetic-friendly Even though fiber is listed on food labels under total carbohydrates, it doesn’t have the same effect on blood sugar as refined carbs, like white bread, that get digested. Fiber doesn't get broken down by the body, so it won’t cause a sudden blood sugar spike. Popcorn gives you your fill of whole grain Popcorn is the only snack that is 100 percent unprocessed whole grain. Just one serving contains more than 70 percent of the recommended daily whole grain intake. Relieves constipation Since popcorn is all whole grain, its insoluble fiber helps keep your digestive track in check and prevents constipation. Perfect dieting snack High-fiber foods take more time to digest than non-fibrous foods, so they keep you fuller longer. Snacking on air-popped popcorn in between meals can make you less tempted by sweets and fatty foods. Just don’t load up on butter and salt. Check out these other healthy snack ideas to keep your diet on track. Furthermore, the fiber content in popcorn makes you feel full, and inhibits the release of the hunger hormone, ghrelin. Popcorn is also very low in saturated fats, and its natural oils are primarily healthy and essential in the body. Popcorn has more iron than spinach Not by much, but it’s true! According to the USDA, one ounce (28 grams) of popcorn contains 0.9 mg of iron, and one cup of raw spinach (30 grams) has 0.8 mg. These numbers seem small, but adult men only need 8 mg of iron in their diet each day. Adult women, on the other hand, need 18 mg per day (because of the blood they lose during menstruation). Almost 10 percent of women are iron deficient, according to the CDC. (If you have these silent signs of anemia, you could be too.) So ladies, get your fill of iron however you can. Buttery, salty popcorn is not a healthy snack; it’s loaded with fats, sodium and unnecessary calories. That doesn’t mean all popcorn is bad, though. Without unhealthy additions, popcorn is an ideal snack that has few calories and a lot of fiber. So, help yourself to healthy homemade air-filled popcorn daily and you will be glad you are doing so.


Writer at The Healthwise...daily health tips