Popcorn is a wonder snack that lives in the hearts of people around the world. Be it your favourite TV show or a football game, the entertainment is incomplete without a bowl of Popcorn. One of the great things to note here is that air-popped popcorn packs a lot of nutrients and it is considered to be one of the healthiest snack foods in the world. With that being said, how you take your popcorn plays a major role in whether or not it affects your dietary goals.
What makes popcorn bad?
As noted, popcorn is much healthier than other crispy snack foods. However, it depends a lot on its preparation methods. In most movie theatres and stadiums, popcorns are typically oil fried. Moreover, the addition of ingredients such as butter, powdered cheese, caramel, flavours, etc., makes matter worse. When you regularly consume popcorn in these places, you are likely to put on weight easily.
The popcorn you get in movie theatres come in different kinds of flavours. These powdered flavours will not stick to a freshly popped corn. To make it flavourful, they apply melted butter to popcorn. It not only enhances the taste of your popcorn but also makes the flavours stick. Caramel popcorn, on the other hand, comes coated with a lot of added sugar. It is estimated that one large popcorn that you eat in theatres come with over 1,200 calories mainly because of additional ingredients like butter and powdered cheese. If you are someone on a healthy diet, this could seriously mess up your plans.
Another thing you must worry about is the salt intake while having popcorn. Most of the popcorn you get outside are salted. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends a daily intake of only 5 grams of salt. In India, the average consumption of salt per day is already around 10.98 grams, which is way higher than the recommended intake. If you add salted popcorn every day to this diet, it will lead to a lot of health hazards like high blood pressure and kidney ailments.
Homemade air-popped popcorn
Homemade popcorns are mostly healthy because of the way in which they are made. Even if you have oil fried your popcorns, you can still limit your calories by minimising the additional substance you add to it. In the recent days, air-popped popcorn is gaining immense popularity as a healthy alternative to crispy snacks. Major e-commerce sites like Amazon and Flipkart are selling popcorn machines like crazy in the recent days. It is possible to find at least 50 variants of these machines in the market. Truth to be told, I am using one of them too.
You can buy these machines for as low as Rs.1,000 in any of these sites. Using them is pretty simple too. Once you put the corn using the given measuring cup, just turn on the machine and let the corn pop. The entire process takes just about 1 to 2 minutes. It is estimated that this air-popped popcorn has only around 40 to 45 calories per bowl. If no extra ingredients (butter or powdered cheese) are added, it is an extremely healthy snack that is not packed with unwanted calories.
Nutrients in air-popped popcorn
Some of the vital nutrients in air-popped popcorn can be listed as follows:
- It is estimated that 100 grams of air-popped popcorn contains about 15 grams of fiber, which is abundant. Fat content is only around 5 grams.
- The corn in popcorn is virtually unprocessed. This makes it a healthy whole grain food compared to cereals.
- It is estimated that 100 grams of air-popped popcorn contains 13 grams of protein.
- It also comes with Vitamin B, Iron, Magnesium, Zinc, Potassium, Phosphorus, etc.
- Some of the latest researches indicate that popcorn also contains certain antioxidants that are recommended in your daily intake.
How to use it for weight-loss?
Well, I wouldn’t go as far as saying that eating air-popped popcorn is directly linked to weight loss. However, this is something you can use to suppress your cravings. Rather than having other crispy snacks like french fries and chips at home, you can use air-popped popcorn whenever you crave for snacks. While suppressing your hunger, this will also ensure that you don’t pack any extra calories from your food.
I used to be someone who loves having a late night snack while watching a movie or a TV show. As soon as I started using air-popped popcorn, I started seeing results quite immediately. If most of the research studies are to be believed, late night snacking is directly related to drastic weight gain. Whenever you feel unnecessary cravings at odd hours, just pop up a bowl of corn and have it in moderation. The best way to have air-popped popcorn is to have it plain without any salt or flavours. When you eat a bowl full of popcorn that has only 40 to 50 calories, you truly have a wonder snack that can prevent drastic weight gain.
As noted earlier, I am not claiming here that popcorn will melt away your body fat. Rather, it is a healthier option compared to other oil-fried snacks. Your weight loss is also highly dependent on the way in which you take other foods. If you truly want to lose weight, you need to create a calorie deficit (the difference between the calories you consume and the calories you burn). Make sure that your daily calorie intake is less than 1,800 calories. Use your air-popped popcorn only to suppress your additional cravings. With a proper diet plan and workout, you can easily achieve the physique you’ve been longing to have.
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