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Do the Popcorn! Now That it is Healthy!

As a kid, I had a brief love affair with popcorn. So much so that I routinely put a handful in my new-fangled air-popper and ate it for breakfast, with a bit of milk and honey on top. Later in life, after working weekends in a movie theater and seeing how much palm oil and salt went into popping up a few tubs of the stuff, my flame of ardor had been snuffed.

However there is reason to celebrate this time-honored movie snack food, and maybe even reintegrate it into your breakfast regimen, as I plan to do. But first, we celebrate those little hot pressurized kernels with a song from Eldridge Holmes:

I hope you enjoyed that bit of popcorn propaganda as much as I did. The news is that this week popcorn elevated its status to a potentially “perfect snack food” largely because, according to Joe Vinson PhD from the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, a single serving of popcorn has twice the polyphenols (a healthful antioxidant thought to stave off cancer) of most fruits or vegetables. The report claims that, compared with fruits and vegetables which have high water content, popcorn holds a far more concentrated amount of phytonutrients that prevent cellular oxidation. And even the pesky kernels, which routinely get caught between your teeth, are loaded with these polyphenols, they actually have the highest concentration of polyphenols and fiber. According to Vinson, it’s the only snack that is 100 percent unprocessed whole grain. Hard to argue with that.

Before you supersize your popcorn tub at the local multiplex, you should note that conventionally popped popcorn (heated in tubs of palm oil and topped with generous amounts of salt and “butter”) might not be the best road to good health. The report suggest, in an effort to get the most nutrition out of the popcorn experience, one should air-pop their popcorn and avoid cooking popcorn in oil or resorting to microwave popcorn, as these have twice as many calories as the air-popped snack. So yes, it may be time to invest $20 in an air-popper and start snacking.

Are you a popcorn enthusiast, and if so, do you have a favorite way of consuming it (“popcorn chicken” just doesn’t count)? Do you have creative/unusual ways of using popcorn in recipes? Bad popcorn experiences? Feel free to share.

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Eric Steinman

Eric Steinman is a freelance writer based in Rhinebeck, NY. He regularly writes about food, music, art, architecture, and culture and is a regular contributor to Bon Appétit among other publications.


+ add your own
4:06AM PDT on Oct 27, 2013

I'd make sure those kernels are organic and non-GMO.

5:15AM PDT on Sep 17, 2013


5:07AM PDT on Sep 17, 2013

Popcorn is brilliant.

5:07PM PDT on Jul 14, 2013

why cant they make up their minds about popcorn, one day its good, the next its this article...:)

3:26AM PDT on May 24, 2013

Thank you :)

8:00AM PDT on May 9, 2013


11:27AM PST on Dec 26, 2012


10:08AM PDT on Apr 30, 2012

The fat question is getting out of hand for those who believe that ALL fats are bad and need to be avoided. Without fats, our skin, nails and nerves suffer.
So rather than go out and buy YET ANOTHER one-use device, I'm going to stick with the ONE Tbsp of mixed grapeseed/coconut oil that I've been using. And I've found that I can get a mere half Tbsp to cover over 2 servings of popcorn.
For two people, that's less than 300 calories.

5:29PM PDT on Apr 29, 2012

I just got a "Whirly Pop". We cook organic popcorn it in Organic Coconut Oil, and then lightly sprinkle it with cinnamon and sugar :) My kids and I love it!

1:13PM PDT on Apr 4, 2012

I was absouletly ecstatic when I read that first article endorsing eating popcorn! It is a very large staple in my 2 year old's diet (with the kernals peeled off of course) and he is always borderline underweight due to his food preferences so luckily we get to smother it with butter to add calories.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

I eat many of the things on this list!

Funny guys. They obviously love what the see or smell there.....

I think this diet is a very very healthy diet. If I were not into trying to minimize animal sufferin…

Great info, thanks!


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