make healthy popcorn

How to make healthy popcorn


Most of us would not consider popcorn a health food, but it can be. Depending on how you prepare it, it can either one of the healthiest or least healthy snack foods. Today we share hints so you can make healthy popcorn.

Why popcorn is healthy

We frequently advocate eating whole grains, and popcorn is a whole, unrefined grain. It contains both an intact germ and bran, and it is full of fiber, various vitamins, minerals, and a reasonable amount of protein. If prepared properly, popcorn is low in calories.

Probably the best nutritional characteristic of popcorn is its antioxidant content. Gram per gram, popcorn has more of one type of an important antioxidant—polyphenols—than an equivalent weight of most any fruit or vegetable. Polyphenols lower the level of oxidative stress in our body and overall inflammation, similar to the effect of eating most nuts.

Prepare your own

A caution is that you should avoid popcorn at the movie theater. It probably has not been cooked in a good oil, may contain terribly unhealthy trans fats, and probably has too much salt.  The type of healthy popcorn we are discussing today is the type you make yourself at home.

Why popcorn pops

Each kernel contains about 4% water, and when heated, the water expands quickly, giving a nice pop, and an appetizing cooked grain. Here are tips on how to do it well.

Making healthy popcorn

Air popper best

The healthiest popcorn is made in an air popper, then spraying on a little oil or butter after. Air poppers are not so common though, and some people think the popcorn that comes out is dry, with not an ideal texture.

The correct oil

If you cook in a pan, use a good oil, with a high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids. The best oil is extra virgin olive oil, avocado, or grapeseed. Cook on medium heat so the oil doesn’t burn and smoke, which degrades the health qualities of the oil, as well as the taste of the popcorn. Best is a heavy bottom pan, and shake constantly.

When there is at least 3 seconds between pops, it is done. If you can eat without salt, great, if not, add a small amount. And while still steaming hot, use a mister to uniformly spray olive oil, or mix with a little butter.

Microwave popcorn?

There are two types of microwave popcorn—store-bought, and homemade. Most store brought brands are not healthy, as they contain the wrong oils as well as flavorings and additives. But you can make microwave popcorn yourself, by putting 50 to 100 grams of kernels in a plain brown paper bag. Use the popcorn setting, or experiment to get the right potency. Again, when there is 3 seconds between pops, it is done.

Silicone microwave poppers

Recently there has appeared an ingenious device that may well be better than a plain paper bag. This a small bucket or collapsible container made of microwave-safe silicone. They are not expensive, and you can find online.

The right toppings

Of course the healthiest way is no toppings at all, but most people enjoy it more with toppings. You can spray on a good amount of olive oil, or mix with a smaller amount of butter. Instead of salt, some people prefer pepper or other herbs. Experiment with toppings such as parmesan cheese, curry powder, red pepper flakes, or even vinegar. Try several together. Whatever, avoid adding sugar, but if you want it sweeter, try cinnamon.

So, loose your guilt over popcorn. If you do it right, it’s good for you!

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Esta postagem também está disponível em: Portuguese (Brazil)

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