Just How Healthy Is Popcorn Really?

Film, lights, camera, action! But wait! What about the popcorn?       


So, it's the night of the long awaited film premiere in your very own custom-built home cinema. You, your family and friends are all gathered to enjoy the latest spectacular blockbuster. Refreshments are on hand. A supply of soft drinks for the kids. Perhaps a few cold beers for the adults. Now all you need is something to snack on. And when it comes to watching films, there really is only one snack that will make the grade. Popcorn!


But how healthy is this delicious treat really? We've checked out the latest research to give you the low down about what we are actually munching when the camera rolls and the theatre lights go down low.


First the good news

Whole grain is 'in' right? For a while now government health bodies have been impressing upon us the need for whole grains in our diets. Well, the good news is that popcorn is whole grain and comes complete with all the fibre and antioxidants required to make it officially a 'healthy snack.' But it gets better...


Popcorn has it all

The definition of whole grain is just that, 'whole grain' meaning that the product contains all 3 components of grain; the endosperm, the bran and the germ. This combination of nature's little health helpers is packed full of healthy oils, vitamins, minerals, proteins and antioxidants—all good stuff we need for a balanced diet and it can all be found in popcorn.


Fell the fibre

If we want to be happy, we have to be regular, right? Yet most adults are only getting about half of their recommended daily dose of fibre. But fibre does much more than keep our bowels ticking over nicely. Fibre has been shown to have properties that can regulate blood sugar, lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. 4 cups of popcorn provide about 4 grams of fibre—which is one tenth of what we should be getting'


Power to the polyphenols

A 2012 study in the US discovered that the antioxidant qualities in the hull of popcorn are far higher than scientists at first expected. But not only that. The study also found that the levels of polyphenols in popcorn was higher even than that of fresh fruit. Polyphenols are known for their ability to aid the prevention of disease such as diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular ailments and osteoporosis.


Too good to be true?

Well, yes and no. Of course the studies reflect the properties and benefits of 'healthy popcorn' i.e. not drenched in butter, sugar and salt. Which unfortunately is exactly the way most of us like to eat it. But you don't have to give up on your favourite viewing treat completely. According to the experts, popcorn lightly seasoned with sea salt and a tiny bit of butter is okay. Oh, and due to the excess oils, additives and extra calories, they advise avoiding microwave popcorn all together.


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