What the Hull? Popcorn Highest in Antioxidants

Popcorn is one of America’s most favorite snack foods, and it has been enjoyed all over the world for thousands of years. It is not only the world’s oldest snack but also all-natural, unprocessed with no additives, GMOs, or hidden ingredients. In addition to that, popcorn is high in fiber and has an excellent glycemic index (GI) of 55. (USDA)

If you are a fan of popcorn and are eager to know about its types and health benefits, you are reading the right article. So, without any further ado, let’s get started.

Nutritional Facts about Different Popcorn

Popcorn is completely fat-free and doesn’t have cholesterol. It has only 0.1 grams of fat per cup. Following are some nutrition facts for 100 grams of regular popcorn:

  • Calories: 375
  • Total Fat: 4.3 grams
  • Sodium: 7 mg
  • Potassium: 274 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 74 g
  • Protein: 11 g
  • Iron: 16%
  • Vitamin B-6: 15%
  • Magnesium: 30%

Stovetop Popcorn with Vegetable Oil (Per Cup or 8g Serving)

  • Calories: 35
  • Total Fat: 1 g
  • Sodium: 0 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 6 g
  • Protein: 1 g
  • Iron: 0%

Stovetop Popcorn with Coconut Oil (Per 1 Cup or 10g Serving)

  • Calories: 45
  • Total Fat: 2 grams
  • Sodium: 0 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 6 g
  • Protein: 1 g
  • Iron: 0%

Stovetop Popcorn with Olive Oil (Per Cup or 9g Serving)

  • Calories: 40
  • Total Fat: 1.5 g
  • Sodium: 0 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 6 g
  • Protein: 1 g
  • Iron: 0%

Air Popped Popcorn (Per Cup or 8g Serving)

  • Calories: 30
  • Total Fat: 0 g
  • Sodium: 0 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 6 g
  • Protein: 1 g
  • Iron: 2%

The Data is taken from Popcorn.org.

History of Popcorn

Popcorn is one of the most popular snacks in the USA, but did you know that the oldest popcorn was found in New Mexico? Small heads of kernels were found in a dry cave, also known as the “Bat Cave” in New Mexico. This discovery was made by Herbert Dick and Earle Smith in 1948.

In other words, the popcorn kernels have been carbon-dated to be approximately 5,600 years old. Interestingly, decorated urns were found in Mexico that date back to 300 A.D. These urns portray a maze God wearing a headdress having popped kernels on it. In addition to that, the Aztec Indians also used popcorn kernels to decorate their clothes. This proves that popcorn wasn’t just consumed but also used as decoration in ceremonial embellishments.

Popcorn was introduced in North America by the colonists who move to this part of the land and adopted this deliciously popular Native American food. And did you know that popcorn wasn’t just used as a snack, but is also found to have been consumed like a breakfast cereal with milk and sugar?

Types of Popcorn

  1. Yellow Popcorn

This one is the most common variety of popcorn that is readily available at your local superstores. Its kernels are large and yellow-colored that are most commonly used in theatres and cinemas.

  1. White Popcorn

White popcorn has the same size as yellow popcorn, but these kernels are slightly tender than the yellow ones.

  1. Ladyfinger Popcorn

If you love those little pieces of popcorn that are left behind in the bottom of the pack of popcorn, then you will love eating ladyfinger popcorn. It is yellow colored and small in size, making a good choice for topping over soups or other baked food items.

  1. Mushroom Popcorn

As the name suggests, this variety of popcorn is mushroom-shaped. Its kernels are big and fluffy, unlike other varieties. If you love eating candy or caramel popcorn, then opt for mushroom popcorn only.

Some other types:

Purple Popcorn

If you want more flavor, then go for purple popcorn. It has small purple spots once popped. Moreover, it is larger than its red and blue counterparts.

Blue Popcorn

Blue popcorn is crunchier and comes in a smaller size compared to red popcorn.

Red Popcorn

Don’t fall for the name – red popcorn pops up white. However, this variety of popcorn has more crunch and is a bit smaller than the traditional yellow popcorn you normally eat.

Health Benefits of Popcorn

  • Improves Digestive Health

Corn is a rich source of dietary fiber that can help with digestive regularity, making you feel satiated throughout the day.

  • Helps in Reducing Depression

Corn is an excellent source of vitamin B, including vitamin B3, B6, pantothenic acid, and folate. Vitamin B3, also known as niacin, can help ease depression naturally. Therefore, whenever you are feeling depressed, you can eat popcorn as comfort food, and it will make you feel relaxed and stress-free.

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  • Helps you Lose Weight

Want to reduce your weight? Popcorn makes a great snack that is both healthy and tasty. If you are worried about your calorie intake, you can eat about 3 cups of air-popped popcorn to fill your stomach without consuming too many calories. It only contains 110 calories. But if you add decadent extras like butter or oil, you will only be making it unhealthy and fattening for yourself.

  • Helps in Boosting Metabolism and Providing Energy

Another big part of losing weight is boosting your metabolism. The best thing about popcorn is that the amount of niacin it contains can help boost your body’s metabolism and provide energy. Therefore, you can eat a serving of popcorn in your snack time.

  • Helps in Relieving Constipation

As popcorn is a whole grain food, it has a good amount of insoluble fibers. These fibers can help keep your digestive tract in check and prevent constipation.

Tips for Selecting, Storing, and Preparing Popcorn

  • There are a few variations of popcorn kernels that vary in terms of health and taste. But you should only go for the ones that are GMO-free or harvested from organically raised corn.
  • Want to customize the taste of popcorn? Make sure to choose kernels that are good at absorbing the seasoning.
  • You should pack unpopped popcorn kernels into a seal-top plastic bag or glass/plastic container, and they will be good to go for at least two years.
  • If you have already opened your popcorn bag and want to eat the remaining ones later, then store the popcorn into an airtight container or bag. Put this bag or container in a cool, dry place such as in a cabinet or shelf. This way, you can easily use the already opened pack of popcorn for one to two weeks.
  • There are always some unpopped kernels left at the bottom when you are done eating popcorn. Next time, collect them in an airtight jar. When you have collected enough, just pop them normally in the microwave, and they will be ready a minute less than usual.
  • To eliminate the guesswork, use the three kernel trick. Pour some oil in the pan, heat it with the lid ajar, and throw in three kernels only. Once one or more starts to pop, go ahead and add the rest of the kernels. This way, your popcorn won’t burn.

Side-Effects and Allergies Related to Popcorn

If eaten in optimum amounts in your diet, then popcorn is completely safe and healthy to consume. However, in some people, eating popcorn may encourage an allergic reaction. If you notice any symptoms of allergy, such as difficulty in breathing or swollen mouth, you should consult your doctor immediately.

Moreover, popcorn is also known for causing irritating symptoms in individuals with inflammatory bowel disease. Therefore, to remain on the safer side, you should never eat a lot of popcorn in one go.