Recent studies show that popcorn might just be a bit healthier than we originally thought. In fact, it’s the hull that is said to contain many nutritional qualities. Does that mean we should all go prepare a bowl immediately?
It’s important to understand that it’s only really healthy if you don’t drown it in salt, oil and butter. After hearing that, the majority of the people reading this just went “shoot!” For most people, salt butter and oil are the ingredients that make it such an enjoyable treat, but wait – there is hope for all of us kernel lovers.
At the University of Scranton, PA, a group of researchers conducted several tests, and they analyzed the content of many popular varieties. They discovered that the hull is actually filled with plenty of polyphenols, which are antioxidants.
In fact, the polyphenols are responsible for protecting your body’s cells from damage and can also fight back harmful diseases. Basically, the majority of the nutritional benefits are found inside of the hull.
We all know and love the white, fluffy part, but unfortunately, this isn’t where the nutrients are contained. However, since you always eat the entire piece and not just the fluffy part, you get to enjoy the health benefits contained within the hull!
Go ahead and pat yourself on the back. The senior researcher who presented these results has also studied cereals, spices, coffee and chocolate. The concentrations of antioxidants are found in the hull because popcorn is 100 percent whole grain and has minimal water.
We’ve established that it has plenty of fiber and antioxidants, so by now, you’re ready to go fire up a bag of your favorite movie theater variety. However, it’s not quite that cut and dry.
Since most kernals are covered in oil, salt and butter, their benefits are slightly negated. When you want to keep it healthy, preparation is crucial. You want to avoid drenching it in butter and salt. It’s perfectly fine to spray a bit of butter and oil on your popcorn but go easy on it.
How Do I Prepare It
A lot of people want to make one of America’s favorite snacks, but they don’t want it to be unhealthy. Many people have tried making it with extra virgin olive oil, and unfortunately, this isn’t the healthiest way to do it. When you heat olive oil, you damage its antioxidant structures, so you want to avoid heating healthy oils.
A healthy way to do things would be to pop the product in a home popper, and you can add EVOO to it that way. We like to add a tiny bit of sea salt to our air-popped treat, but it’s really up to you.
To be on the safe side and to keep calories low, you should avoid adding any more than two tablespoons (one ounce) of olive oil. Some people believe that microwaving is a good idea, and although it’s quite easy to do, we think it’s best to stay away from that kind of food preparation.
We’ll do a write up about the dangers of using microwaves in the near future, so for now, stick with a personal popper and go easy on the toppings if you want to keep it healthy.