Americans consume about 15 billion quarts of popcorn per year. That's a lot of popcorn! How do you feel about this tasty snack?
Whether you buy popcorn from the store, make it at home, or get it at a movie theater, this snack is a fan favorite. Did you know that there are also several benefits of popcorn aside from its delicious taste?
Let's talk about a few of them! Read on to learn all about why you don't have to feel guilty when you eat popcorn.
1. Plain Popcorn Is Low-Calorie
While this certainly isn't true for all popcorn, standard air-popped popcorn is a low-calorie snack. A serving is generally under 100 calories and still super filling.
You can only eat so much popcorn before your belly starts to hurt. Consider how many calories there would be in an equivalent serving of chips, fries, candy, or other popular snacks.
Yes, it's not as low-calorie as something along the lines of chopped vegetables, but as far as crunchy and tasty snacks go, it's one of your best options.
Of course, the calorie count goes up if you get flavored or coated popcorn. With that in mind, it's still often lower-calorie than similar alternatives.
A cup of caramel corn will be lower-calorie than a cup of caramel candies in most cases. A cup of buffalo popcorn will be lower-calorie than a cup of buffalo chips.
If you're craving something crunchy with a specific flavor profile, popcorn is generally the best option that actually tastes like a snack.
2. High Fiber Content
Popcorn contains a lot of fiber! Most Americans do not eat enough fiber, and that's a problem.
Fiber is most well-known for its ability to prevent and relieve constipation. In other words, if you want your digestive system to work to its full potential, you need plenty of fiber.
Fiber is a special type of carbohydrate that doesn't get digested. This is a good thing. It can lower blood pressure and potentially aid in the prevention of diabetes (in combination with a healthy lifestyle, of course).
It helps the body regulate blood sugar.
One serving of popcorn contains 3.6 grams of fiber. This may not sound like a lot (adults should aim to get at least 25 grams per day), but it's far more fiber than you can find in the average snack food.
3. Relatively High in Protein
Let's face it: the average snack food doesn't contain a lot of protein. Unless you're snacking on protein bars, jerky, or nuts, your snacks of choice may have one gram or less of protein per serving.
Popcorn has about three grams of protein per serving. Again, this isn't a lot in the grand scheme of things, but it is a lot in comparison to the average salty or sugary snack.
Protein is essential. It helps your body grow and repair itself. While the average American diet supplies more than enough protein, people on plant-based diets may struggle. Children also struggle to get enough protein.
Popcorn is a great way to get a small protein boost in snack form.
4. Relatively Nutrient-Dense
We think of popcorn as a very basic snack, but it's still corn. Corn contains nutrients, and so does popcorn. Those nutrients don't go away when you make the corn crunchier.
So what nutrients does popcorn contain?
First, it's a source of folate. Folate is helpful for protein metabolism. It's also essential for the formation of DNA and RNA.
People who are pregnant need to consume folate for the safety of their fetuses. Folate deficiency may cause fatigue, weakness, and even neurological issues.
It also contains vitamins A, E, K, and B6.
Vitamin A is good for immunity, eyesight, cell division, growth, and more! It's an essential nutrient.
Vitamin E is a nutrient with antioxidant properties. It's good for your blood, brain, and skin. It's another one that's important for your vision! Vitamin K is involved in the creation of proteins that are essential for blood clotting and building strong and healthy bones!
Vitamin B6 is important for brain development, your immune system, and your nervous system.
Popcorn also contains thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin.
Popcorn isn't exactly a replacement for other healthy foods or a multivitamin, but it contains more nutrients than you would expect! It's a good snack for someone who tries to follow a healthy diet.
5. Good for Curbing Cravings
Do you always find yourself craving something sweet or salty? Popcorn is great for curbing those problematic cravings for several reasons.
First, due to the somewhat high fiber and protein content of popcorn, it will keep you full for longer than the average quick snack would. Do you ever leave a movie theater feeling like you've had a full meal after eating popcorn? There's a reason for that!
This can stop you from over-eating later. Popcorn is a good between-meal snack that won't leave you reaching for something else within the hour.
Even flavored popcorn is good for curbing more problematic cravings. You can have salty popcorn instead of reaching for salty chips or fries.
We Love These Benefits of Popcorn
In moderation, you can eat popcorn as a part of a healthy diet! The benefits of popcorn go beyond it just being delicious. It contains fiber, protein, and healthy nutrients that you should be including in your diet!
Sure, popcorn won't replace your favorite fruits and vegetables, but it makes a great snack that isn't too bad for you in comparison to others. Snack with confidence!
Are you interested in specialty popcorn? Shop our collection and find your new favorite snack today!