Popcorn is one of the most popular snacks in America, and is also considered the quintessential cinema snack worldwide. But did you know that popcorn has been enjoyed for a very long time now, even before movies existed?
In fact, there’s archaeological evidence that shows popcorn being made over 6,700 years ago in ancient Peru. In order to achieve this ancient form of popcorn, early Peruvians roasted corn cobs directly over coals or a fire.1
However, the main issue with eating popcorn today is that it most often is cooked using trans fat-loaded oils, and seasoned with artificial flavorings. This results in a snack that’s potentially harmful to your cardiovascular and overall health.
To make things even worse, conventional microwave popcorn packaging is lined with harmful chemicals that can leach into the popcorn when heated.
Instead of allowing you to continue endangering your health, I’ll show you how to prepare popcorn traditionally using organic kernels and coconut oil, which adds healthy fats to this classic snack.
Healthy Popcorn Recipe
- Melt the coconut oil in a large pot.
- Place a kernel in the pot; once it has popped, add the remaining kernels.
- Cook the kernels over medium-high heat for about three minutes or until the popping slows, and you can count to 10 before another kernel pops.
- Remove the pot from the heat and place the popcorn in a bowl. Season with salt and serve.
Flavor Variations From Healthy Holistic Living:
If you want to add more flavor to plain, salted popcorn, you can check out these variations from Healthy Holistic Living.2 These flavors use a mixture of spices to create a popcorn snack filled with essential nutrients. Simply mix these ingredients with the popcorn inside a bag, shake it and enjoy.
|Green Popcorn Flavor
|Cheesy Popcorn Flavor
|1 Tbsp. of spirulina powder
|1/4 cup of nutritional yeast
|1 Tbsp. of Dr. Mercola’s Himalayan salt
|2 tsp. of Dr. Mercola’s Himalayan salt
|1 tsp. of garlic powder
|1 tsp. of garlic powder
|1/8 tsp. of cayenne pepper
|1tsp. of onion powder
|1/2 tsp. of paprika
|1/2 tsp. of cumin
Organic Popcorn Can Provide You With Essential Nutrients
Provided that you eat a modest serving (3.5 ounces), popcorn can offer you ideal amounts of essential nutrients. For one, it contains 56 percent of the daily recommended intake of manganese, while its magnesium and phosphorus content bring 36 percent each.
In addition, popcorn provides 26 percent of your daily requirement of zinc, while copper, vitamin B3, B6 and potassium contribute to 10 percent each. The combination of these nutrients may lead to health benefits, such as:
- Blood sugar regulation
- Improvements in digestion
- Weight loss
- Reduced cholesterol levels
- Lowered risk of cancer
Popcorn contains fiber as well, which is important for digestive health and weight management. A 3.5-ounce serving gives you 15 grams of dietary fiber, which may help reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity and heart disease. It also helps you feel full longer, which reduces your need to eat more meals throughout the day, effectively preventing you from overeating.
When sourcing for popcorn kernels, don’t lure yourself into purchasing “non-GMO” popcorn simply because it’s labeled as such. That’s because GMO popcorn is non-existent and popcorn companies simply use the “non-GMO” tag as a marketing gimmick.
Even so, these commercially manufactured popcorn kernels may still be exposed to various chemicals during their harvesting or packaging processes, despite being labeled non-GMO. Again, I urge you to find a reputable source of organic corn kernels.3
Coconut Oil Infuses Popcorn With Healthy Fats
Since you don’t have to worry about your popcorn being genetically engineered, the most important consideration, then, is the type of oil you use in cooking your popcorn (or any food for that matter), as most vegetable oils are loaded with unhealthy fats.
Fortunately, this is not the case when you’re cooking with coconut oil. It pairs well with most foods and cooking methods, because not only does it have a mild taste that won’t affect the corn's flavor in any way except to perhaps enhance it, but it can also withstand high heat without oxidizing.
Fifty percent of coconut oil is composed of lauric acid, which is one of the rarest beneficial compounds in nature. In fact, coconut oil contains the most amount lauric acid compared to any other food on earth. When digested, lauric acid converts into monolaurin, a monoglyceride that has strong antimicrobial properties that are effective even against antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus.
It also has antifungal and antiviral properties, making it effective in lowering your risk of diseases such as herpes, influenza and measles. This is one of the reasons why, aside from being a cooking ingredient, coconut is also used in skin care products.
Lauric acid, which is a medium-chain fatty acid (MCFA), is a potent energy source. MCFAs are easily digested and distributed across your cell membranes by your liver. As a positive side effect, these fatty acids are not stored as fat, which helps with weight management.
Popcorn Can Be Healthy and Safe to Eat, If It’s Prepared Correctly
You may think that air-popped popcorn is healthy because you’re skipping the oil. On the contrary, air-popped popcorn, especially microwave popcorn, contains toxins that can potentially wreck your health.
Microwave popcorn bags contain perfluoroalkyls, which are chemicals that help keep grease from leaking through fast food wrappers. When a popcorn bag is heated, the chemicals in the bag linings leak into the food, which you then ingest. They often show up as contaminants in the blood. As a result, the production of your sex hormones may suffer, along with an increased risk of cancer, thyroid disease, infertility and immune system problems.
If you want to enjoy popcorn the right way, I recommend that you follow the procedure in this recipe. Remember to always use organic popcorn kernels to get the most out of your food, and use high-quality cookware that can’t leach harmful coatings into your popcorn.
+ Sources and References