Popcorn is not only delicious but good for you as well! Plain popcorn has only 40 calories in one cup (popped) and it full of fiber which not only promotes good digestion but fills you up and keeps you satiated making you less likely to continue snacking. Because popcorn is a whole grain and consumption of whole grains reduces the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers it is touted as a smart snack by the American Heart Associate and the National Institute of Cancer. A recent report in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association which surveyed more than 15,000 people found those who snacked on popcorn regularly consumed an average of 2.5 servings of whole grains per day compared to non popcorn consumers who only got an average of .7 servings of whole grains per day. The recommended amount of whole grain servings per day is 3. So regular popcorn consumers were 22% more like to consume adequate amounts of whole grains thus reducing their risk for cardiovascular disease.
So, grab a bag and get popping? Not so fast. You might not be aware that the inside of microwave popcorn bags is coated with chemicals that break down into PFCAs (perfluorinated carboxylic acids.) Unfortunately, PFCAs are linked to cancer and because manufacturers do not have to put them on the package as an ingredient we do not know which microwave popcorn brands contain them. So how can you have the convenience of microwave popcorn while maintaining its safety and health? Fill a paper lunch bag with a quarter cup of popcorn kernels and a teaspoon of olive oil. Roll the top of the bag down tightly and microwave the bag on high for two to three minutes. Salt to taste and enjoy your microwave popcorn without chemicals! Other great options for toppings include parmesan cheese which can add a little protein to your snack as well as cinnamon for a sweeter taste!
Research Assistance Provided by: Sarah Volling