Popcorn, the name is enough to bring water to your mouth. Popcorn, the healthy snack, is a generic nomenclature of the types of maize with kernels which, when heated produces flakes. Corn gives us the popcorn, a quickly made yet delicious piece of snack which we enjoy on almost every occasion.
Popping volume and popcorn texture as parameters, define popcorn’s commercial viability as a snack food. Popcorn has traditionally been a popular snack food in all parts of the world.
You can find numerous techniques for popping corn. The tantalizing aroma of crunchy popcorn is fantastic. It is one of the perfect snacks for families and friends to have while watching movies and TV. You can buy it from local stores or make easily at home also.
It is corn which puffs up when heated. In this research study in 2001 by Amalio Santacruz-Varela, the researcher aptly brings out historical evidence about popcorn and mentions,
Excavations in the late 1980s provided the earliest direct evidence of the use of maize at Olmec sites on the Gulf Coastal Plain in Mexico, between ca. 2250 and 200 B.C.
Why is Popcorn Healthy?
Popcorn is light and easy to digest. Many won’t be knowing that popcorn is an excellent source of protein, iron, and fibre. The kernel of popcorn contains a small amount of water, and when the seeds are heated, the water turns to steam.
Popcorn kernel can pop up 3 feet in the air. Popcorn comes in two shapes– snowflakes and mushrooms. You can quickly get snowflake shape popcorn in the movie theatre; they only sell this shape of popcorn. People celebrate the 19th of January as National Popcorn day.
Each kernel of popcorn contains tiny drops of water surrounded by a hard shell. When the popcorn is heated, the water turns into steam, which forces to build pressure inside the kernel. When the pod no longer contains the weight, the core explodes, and a piece of Popcorn pop out.
Health Benefits of Popcorn
Popcorn is low in calories. It provides fibre, whole grains, and antioxidants. When you eat plain popcorn, it gives you both taste and health benefits.
However, if you are pouring some salt and butter on it, then it transforms into unhealthy junk food. People with Blood sugar should eat popcorn as it contains fibre and fibre helps to release blood sugar and insulin from the body.
Popcorn does not contain trans fat, which is known to affect your health adversely. It has plenty of nutrients. Popcorn contains large amounts of vitamin B1 (Thiamin), vitamin B3 (Niacin), folate, B6 and minerals such as Iron, Magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and copper.
Popcorn has the Antioxidants
Polyphenols, an important antioxidant, is found inside the hulk of the corn. The concentration of polyphenols is more than that found in fruits. The antioxidants found in popcorn helps reduce Cancer and other degenerative diseases.
Cellular metabolism gives rise to free radicals, the cause of many diseases. The radicals are responsible for the conversion of healthy cells to cancerous ones. It can also be responsible for ageing symptoms like cognitive decline, blindness, age spots, and wrinkles.
Polyphenols fight and destroy the free radicals, thereby reducing the risks of the diseases as well. However, corn lacks antioxidants because it is present only in the hulk of popcorn.
Popcorn is Fibre-Rich
Popcorn, whole grain, is consumed unadulterated. It means that all three parts of the entire grain, i.e., the germ, bran, and endosperm are all edible. Hence it gives an enormous amount of fibre to the body.
When adequate tissue is present, the cell maintains the blood sugar at low levels due to a significant release of insulin. It also, therefore, helps in reducing cholesterol levels. Hence it reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Rich in fibre, popcorn also regulates the smooth bowel movements preventing constipation.
Popcorn has High Nutritional Value
Popcorn contains variants of vitamin B, including Vitamin B3 and B6. It helps in the smooth metabolism and digestion of other nutrients. The vitamin is also helpful in reducing depression and is, therefore, excellent food that can bring comfort.
Among other minerals, it contains manganese and phosphorus. Both are vital in helping the body grow healthy bones. Manganese also aids in healthy skin and blood sugar regulation.
Popcorn Helps in Weight Loss
Popcorn’s fibre takes a longer time to digest. It helps in reducing hunger and the craving for unhealthy snacks. Therefore it is a boon to dieters for carb-free fillers in between primary meals.
History of Popcorn
Popcorn was famous in the United States from the end of the 19th century but the oldest popcorn discovered in the Bat cave in central New Mexico.
In tombs in Peru, archaeologists found fresh kernels of popcorn that are nicely preserved and ready to pop.
One of the earliest recipes of popcorn came from Daniel Browne during the 1840s. There are so many stories about how “popcorn” got its name.
Popcorn and movies both seem to be made for each other. Jokes apart! When you enter the movie theatre, you can’t control your urge to buy popcorn. The buttery and popping aroma of popcorn doesn’t let you resist it.
There was a time when the movie theatre’s owner did not want to sell popcorn and other snacks. Street vendors sold popcorn to the public, waiting to get into the theatres. However, when the economic depression hit in the 1930s, movie theatres started the sale of popcorn, and till now, the trend is still flowing.
In 1938 Glen W.Dickson began installing popcorn machines in the lobbies of his Midwestern theatres. The trend spread rapidly, and now you can’t imagine watching a movie in the theatre without having popcorn.
Varieties of Popcorn
Popcorn comes in different shapes and varieties. Varieties of popcorn include-
- Pearly white, a smaller kernel popcorn having a very mild flavour.
- Ruby red, with a rich flavour.
- Yellow Butterfly, a tinier popcorn with great yellow colour.
- Midnight Blue, having a different flavour.
- Mixed baby rice, a variety of hull-less (a type of corn). It looks like rice having a white and red colour.
- Queen Mauve, pink in colour, it gives an excellent taste to your taste buds. It is very tender and quickly melts in the mouth.
- Mushroom Flake, used for caramelized popcorn, it pops up rounded in shape. It has a very sharp taste, and it is less tender. It is the tightest kernel among them all.
- Japanese Hull-Less, having a mild flavour, it is smaller than the yellow popcorn.
- Strawberry, looks very tiny, occasionally grown, it’s tough to harvest.
- Monarch Butterfly, the premium yellow variety of popcorn, which melts in your mouth.
The Right Way
Though popcorn is a popular traditional snack, it has its dos and don’ts.
- The popcorn should be made traditionally by air puffing organic corn. The instant popcorn mix for microwave contains chemicals that feed on the health benefits of popcorn.
- Similarly, adding flavours like caramel, butter, salt, and others can only add to the calorie intake, thus tarnishing the healthiness of the popcorn.
- Cooking it with unhealthy oils like vegetable oil or olive oil will render the popcorn drained of ant benefits.
- Consider the right way of air baking for organic corn.
Only plain popcorn has associated health benefits, not flavoured ones. Popcorn’s fibre content releases digestive juices that keep the digestive system healthy. Popcorn also inhibits eating urge that makes us crave for unnecessary snacks at frequent intervals. Net-Net, popcorn is a healthy snack.