- Better Living
Your Favourite Movie-Time Snack Is Good For You
Instead of reaching for a packet of potato chips, try popcorn, a healthy wholegrain alternative full of goodness
Recent research has proven that snacking done right can prevent overeating and help with weight management and improve your overall health. But beware of what you eat—health experts advise against bingeing on potato chips, fries, namkeens and confectionery items that are loaded with trans fats and sugars.
Thankfully, there’s an easy alternative—popcorn. Not only does it energize you, it also keeps your digestive system in top shape. Here’s why you need to ditch those chips for this balanced food:
Pop of antioxidants
Among grains such as wheat, oats and rice, corn reportedly exhibits the highest level of antioxidant activity due to the presence of phenolic compounds, which fight free radicals in the body. What’s more, “the popping process does not appear to degrade the phenolic compounds originally present in the kernel,” according to a study published in the journal Antioxidants. The study also goes on to claim that popcorn eaten plain and air popped is 100 per cent wholegrain by weight, and is, in fact, the only food to boast such a property. Evidently, popcorn has immunity-boosting, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties.
Fibre of truth
The high fibre content in popcorn can keep you feeling fuller for a long period. Air-popped popcorn also has a low calorie count—30 calories per cup if plain, 35 with oil, and 80 if lightly buttered. According to Maya Vadiveloo, an assistant professor in the University of Rhode Island, eating popcorn made at home can be a tasty, affordable and viable alternative for people who don’t include enough fruits, vegetables or other wholegrains in their diets as both share similar properties and benefits.
Good for blood sugar
Popcorn (air popped) has a relatively low glycaemic index of 55, which makes it a good snack even for those with diabetes. The high fibre content controls blood sugar levels by slowing down gastric emptying.
Other than its high antioxidants and fibre content, popcorn is also packed with a host of essential minerals and vitamins. These include folate, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, iron, calcium, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and vitamins such as A, B6, E and K.
Note: Keep a check on the salt and sugar content of your popcorn because that can affect its nutritional value and increase its fat and calorie count. So, you may need to hold back on the quantity you consume.