What Are the Nutritional Benefits of Popcorn?
Healthy Living on on November 3 2020 by Bob's Red Mill

What Are the Nutritional Benefits of Popcorn?

Popcorn is a tasty, year-round snack that can be enjoyed no matter where you are. Whether you're planning a movie night with the family or searching for a fun and unique budget-friendly appetizer, popcorn can be customized to your taste preferences for a truly satisfying treat. If you're a fan of popcorn, then you'll be excited to learn about the many nutritional benefits it has to offer. From fiber to essential minerals and antioxidants, popcorn is loaded with health benefits making it an excellent part of a healthy diet.

Curious to learn just how great popcorn is for you? Keep reading as we break down the nutritional benefits of popcorn, giving you a close up view of this whole grain. 

Dietary Fiber

Popcorn is a good source of fiber. Dietary fiber is an essential part of a well-balanced diet. It adds bulk to your meals and helps you feel full and satiated. Dietary fiber can also help encourage proper digestion. 

Fats

What Are the Nutritional Benefits of Popcorn? | Bob's Red Mill Blog

Air-popped popcorn is a low-fat food. That being said, most of the fats found in popcorn and monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, aka the healthy kind of fats.

This does not apply to pre-packaged popcorn that is mixed with hydrogenated oils and additives. Most of these oils contain unhealthy transfers that can harm your health. To ensure that your popcorn is as healthy as can be, air pop or stove pop it yourself at home. 

Varieties of Popcorn

Now, you might have seen a couple of different types of popcorn on the shelves and are wondering what's the difference. The two main types of popcorn are white popcorn and yellow popcorn. While their size rather than their color can usually differentiate them, once popped, yellow popcorn does have more of a yellowish hue to it, before adding butter, of course!

Taste Difference

While your preferences entirely determine taste, yellow popcorn is often the favored variety by consumers. Yellow popcorn has been known to retain the original "corn-like" flavor, whereas the taste of white popcorn is slightly sweet. This sweet flavor makes for a great dessert popcorn! 

Once Popped

After popping, the size difference remains. While each kernel grows substantially when popped, white popcorn will often produce a more delicate snowflake-like shaped form, whereas yellow popcorn will produce sturdy mushroom-shaped puffs. 

The Popcorn Hull

If you're someone with sensitive teeth, you may be curious about the difference in the hull's strength when concerning white and yellow popcorn. Because the hull does not entirely disappear, biting down on a hard hull can easily chip a tooth if you're not careful. When it comes to hull strength, yellow popcorn is the winner. Because white popcorn is much smaller, it is virtually hulless and hard to detect. This makes white popcorn easier to chew and more favorable for sensitive teeth.

Low in Calories

What Are the Nutritional Benefits of Popcorn? | Bob's Red Mill Blog

If you're sticking to a low-calorie diet, yellow popcorn is the choice for you. While the calorie difference isn't drastic, yellow popcorn does contain fewer calories than white. Additionally, the extra fiber will help fill you up quicker, which in return will require you to eat less popcorn to be satisfied. 

Which One is Better?

While the nutritional differences are not overly drastic, most of the popcorn purchased by consumers is yellow popcorn, the same kind of popcorn used in movie theaters. It's often favored due to the bigger size of the kernels, which looks more attractive and can also hold more toppings. Yellow popcorn is also slightly easier to produce, as it yields twice as much as white popcorn. 

How to Cook Stovetop Popcorn

When made and topped properly, stovetop popcorn is the ideal healthy snack to enjoy throughout the day. By following the stovetop popping method below, you can ensure that your popcorn kernels reach a uniform temperature before popping so that nearly every kernel pops! Following this method will ensure that your popcorn kernels don't burn and that there is no wasted popcorn. As a result, you'll end up with a fluffy bowl of popcorn cooked to perfection.  

Different Oils to Use

What Are the Nutritional Benefits of Popcorn? | Bob's Red Mill Blog

When it comes to oils, choosing the right one is key to creating a healthy bowl of popcorn. While making your popcorn, you'll want to steer clear of unhealthy oils like canola oil, and instead opt for more healthy fats like coconut oil or olive oil. Using these oils will help add nutrients to your popcorn while also producing that excellent movie theater flavor that works so well. 

What you need:

  • 1/4 cup vegetable or coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup yellow popcorn or white popcorn kernels
  • A dash of salt to taste

How to Cook Popcorn on the Stovetop

  1. First, pour the oil into a large pot with a heavy bottom and lid. The oil should fully cover the bottom of the pot. 
  2. Next, warm the oil over medium-high heat.
  3. Once the oil has warmed, place three popcorn kernels into the center of the pot and wait for the kernels to pop.
  4. Once the kernels pop, remove the popped kernels and begin adding your popcorn. Make sure it falls as an even layer.
  5. Cover your pot with the lid and remove it from the heat for 30 seconds.
  6. Return pot to the heat, and begin to watch your popcorn pop.
  7. Once the popcorn begins popping quicker, begin to shake the pot back and forth over the heat, leaving the lid slightly open for moisture to release. This popping will carry on for a few minutes. 
  8. After the popping slows down, remove the pot from the heat and remove the lid to release all of the steam. 
  9. Once the steam is released, pour your popped kernels into a bowl and top with your favorite popcorn toppings. Enjoy!

And there you have it! Everything you need to know about popcorn. From popcorn nutrition facts to learning how to make the perfect batch yourself, popcorn is a delicious snack that can be made at home in just minutes. Want to make a batch of popcorn yourself, try out one of our delicious popcorn recipes! From everyone at Bob's Red Mill, happy poppin'! 

If you know of a popcorn tip that we didn’t share, we’d love to hear about it! Share all you know about popcorn in the comments below! 

 

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