Stay healthy with popcorn

Updated at: Feb 04, 2013
Stay healthy with popcorn

If you’re popping your own corn, remember to toss in just a dash of olive oil, avoid butter, caramel and salt. This will keep your diet healthy and won't add to the luxury of your waistline.

Vidya Subramanian
Exercise & FitnessWritten by: Vidya SubramanianPublished at: Feb 04, 2013

Staying healthy with popcornOkay, wait a minute. There’s got to be something wrong with that headline. Everyone knows that munching popcorn during a movie is BAD for health. Isn’t it? Oh, don’t get us wrong, it’s not that kind of popcorn we’re plugging here –poured with butter, tossed in salt kinds is not, repeat not, a health food. But air popped popcorn is a good, healthy snack that is, wait for it, doctor recommended!

Yes. The humble popcorn is a healthy snack like few others. A standard mixing bowl-full of popcorn contains only about 93 calories and less than 2 grams of fat (a small slice of pound cake – of about 30 grams – contains about 120 calories!). But that is, of course, if the popcorn is actually air popped. The supermarket variety of packaged popcorn, even if it is labelled ‘air popped’ may not be telling you the whole truth. While the corn may not have been cooked with fat, it may have been sprayed with fat later on in order to preserve it in packaging. And don’t even begin to compare this to the movie theatre popcorn, a ‘medium’ labelled packet of which has 720 calories. So, we recommend home popped popcorn for those in-between-meal-time cravings that are the bane of any health food regime.

Experts have it that popcorn actually has large quantities of antioxidants known as polyphenols. These good-for-health antioxidants are also found in fruits and vegetables; and are believed to reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and several other diseases. One of the main reasons for popcorn to have such good qualities is because the processing involved in it is really less. It’s almost straight from the plant – and as any dietician will tell you, the less the processing involved in an eatable, the better it is for health.

The twentieth century introduced us to packaged food, and the twenty first is looking at a worldwide domination of such foodstuff. Even traditional Indian meals (matar paneer and malai kofta for a few examples) that our grandparents slogged over now come in a ready-to-eat format. This is bound to spell disaster for our health. And this packaged food frenzy has reduced the intake of natural foods in our diet. In India, it is still relatively easy to buy unprocessed food, and it’s becoming more and more important to our lives to take advantage of this. Popcorn is one of those things that can help us still retain some of the old good habits of traditional India. In winters, popcorn vendors are a common sight even in the heart of our bustling metropolises. This winter, you may want to give him a second look...

If you’re popping your own corn, remember to toss in just a dash of olive oil. Avoid butter, caramel and salt (okay, just a little bit, if you must). This will keep your corn healthy and make for a great snack that you can munch on throughout the movie. It won’t add to the luxury of your waistline, and will keep you full after, unlike most other movie-time snacks. It may be a bit low on flavour for the first few bites, but trust us- it tends to grow on you.


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