Popcorn loves you, too

Lindsay Lillig

Popcorn is finally considered a healthy snack. You’re welcome. Christine Gerbstadt, physician and dietitian, includes popcorn on her list (Gerbstadt’s List) of healthy snacks that promote weight loss.

The stomach takes a moment to catch up with the brain. It takes approximately 15 minutes after ingesting food before digestive enzymes in the stomach let the brain know a person is getting full. Since many people take a longer amount of time to eat popcorn, it is more likely one will start to feel full before eating too much. Popcorn is also a good source of fiber, which makes it a naturally more filling food.

Robert Preidt of Everyday Health Magazine considers popcorn to be “the whole grain treat” that is a “good choice for guilt-free snacking.” Healthday News reports that popcorn contains more “good for you” antioxidants (polyphenols) than some fruits and vegetables. One serving of popcorn provides 13 percent of a person’s average daily intake of polyphenols. A serving of fruit or nuts provides 19 percent.

Popcorn is one of the only snacks that is 100 percent unprocessed whole grain. One serving provides 70 percent of a daily intake of whole grains. However, this nutritional value is based on simple, air-popped popcorn. Using a hot air popper is the healthiest way to go. Microwaveable popcorn contains 43 percent fat, opposed to only 28 percent when air-popped with oil.
Avoid adding too much butter and salt, and popcorn will never do you wrong.

Spiced Popcorn
Calories: 15 Fat: 0g Carbs: 3g Fiber: 1g Protein: 1g
Preparation time: 10 min
Ingredients: Makes 6 servings
• 1/4 teaspoon cumin, ground
• 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• Dash of pepper, cayenne (to taste)
• dash of cinnamon, ground (to taste)
• 6 cups popcorn kernels, air-popped
• cooking spray

1. In a small bowl, stir together cumin, chili powder, salt, cayenne pepper and cinnamon.
2. Spread popped popcorn in an even layer in a large, shallow baking pan. Lightly coat popcorn with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle the cumin mixture evenly over popcorn. Toss until coated.