Is Popcorn Healthy? 9 Reasons You Need Popcorn in Your Diet (2023)

    Home FoodIs Popcorn Healthy? 9 Reasons You Need Popcorn in Your Diet (1)

    Is Popcorn Healthy? 9 Reasons You Need Popcorn in Your Diet (2)Claire Nowak

    Is Popcorn Healthy? 9 Reasons You Need Popcorn in Your Diet (3)Miranda ManierUpdated: Sep. 28, 2022

    Is Popcorn Healthy? 9 Reasons You Need Popcorn in Your Diet (4)Medically reviewed by Cynthia Sass, MPH, RDN, CSSD

      Have you ever asked yourself "is popcorn healthy?" If so, we've got some great news for you. Here's why eating popcorn is one of the healthiest snack habits you can have.

      Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links. Ratings and prices are accurate and items are in stock as of time of publication.

      Is Popcorn Healthy? 9 Reasons You Need Popcorn in Your Diet (5)picalarm/Shutterstock

      (Video) Is Popcorn Healthy? 9 Reasons You Need Popcorn in Your Diet

      Popcorn could be the perfect healthy snack

      When you wonder: “Is popcorn healthy?” you have to narrow down the type of popcorn you’re munching on. If it’s air-popped popcorn—not the fatty, butter-drenched stuff you get at the movies—then you’ll be happy about the answer.Read on to learn more about why air-popped popcorn is actually a healthy snack option, and why you can add it to your list of healthy snacks for adults.

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      It has few calories—if you pop it the right way

      The healthiest type of popcorn is air-popped, which only has 30 calories per cup. Meanwhile, the Center for Science in the Public Interest found that the medium and large popcorn sizes at Regal theaters each had 1,200 calories and 60 grams of saturated fat. A large popcorn at AMC wasn’t much better: 1,030 calories and 57 grams of saturated fat. At home, you can use a hot air popper, like thisCuisinart Hot Air Popcorn Maker orColonel Popper Microwave Popcorn Popper Bowlto make your own.

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      Is Popcorn Healthy? 9 Reasons You Need Popcorn in Your Diet (7)iStock/OJO_Images

      Popcorn could be healthier than fruits and vegetables

      Yep, you read that right. According to a 2019 analysis in the journal Antioxidants,popcorn is loaded with polyphenols, compounds found in plants that act as antioxidants and reduce inflammation. Polyphenols are heavily diluted in fruits and vegetables, which are 90% water. Yet popcorn is made up of about 4% water, so the polyphenols are more highly concentrated, especially in the hulls (the hard shells that get stuck in your teeth). One serving of popcorn can contain up to 300 mg of polyphenols, according to a prior study from the University of Scranton, which would account for 13% of the average American’s daily intake. Fruit accounts for 255 mg of polyphenols per day, and vegetables bring in about 218 mg per day. That said, popcorn doesn’t have many other vitamins and nutrients, so it can’t completely replace fruits and veggies in your diet.

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      (Video) 9 Reasons You Need Popcorn in Your Diet || Scientifically Proven

      Popcorn may help fight cancer

      One of the many powers of polyphenols like those found in popcorn is their ability to block enzymes that cancers need to grow and, in doing so, regulate the spread of cancerous cells, notes the American Institute for Cancer Research. The traditional way to reap these health benefits is by eating fruits and vegetables, but the high concentration of polyphenols makes eating popcorn a healthy alternative. Since they can also prevent inflammation and plaque buildup, foods rich in polyphenols may help prevent cardiovascular disease.

      Is Popcorn Healthy? 9 Reasons You Need Popcorn in Your Diet (9)iStock/Vladislav Nosick

      Popcorn gives you your fill of whole grain

      Popcorn is one snack that is 100% unprocessed whole grain. Just one serving of popcorn such as SkinnyPop Popcorn Original contains more than 70% of the recommended daily whole grain intake.

      Eating more popcorn is also one of 30 Ways to Get More Fiber in Your Diet Without Even Trying.

      Is Popcorn Healthy? 9 Reasons You Need Popcorn in Your Diet (10)iStock/AndreyPopov

      Popcorn may help relieve constipation

      Since popcorn is all whole grain, its insoluble fiber helps keep your digestive tract in check and prevents constipation. A 3-cup serving contains 3.5 grams of fiber, and a high-fiber diet can help promote intestinal regularity, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Who knew this small snack could make such a huge impact on digestive health?

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      Is Popcorn Healthy? 9 Reasons You Need Popcorn in Your Diet (11)iStock/Rostislav_Sedlacek

      It’s the perfect dieting snack

      High-fiber foods take more time to digest than non-fibrous foods, so they can keep you fuller longer. Snacking on air-popped popcorn in between meals can make you less tempted by sweets and fatty foods. Just don’t load up on butter and salt.

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      (Video) Is Popcorn Healthy? 9 Reasons You Need Popcorn in Your Diet

      Is Popcorn Healthy? 9 Reasons You Need Popcorn in Your Diet (12)iStock/AMR-Imag

      Popcorn is diabetic friendly

      Even though fiber is listed on food labels under total carbohydrates, it doesn’t have the same effect on blood sugar as refined carbs like white bread. High-fiber foods don’t contain as much digestible carbohydrate, so it slows the rate of digestion and causes a more gradual and lower rise in blood sugar, according to 2015 research in the journal Circulation.

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      Is Popcorn Healthy? 9 Reasons You Need Popcorn in Your Diet (13)iStock/alamourus

      There are endless options for popcorn flavors

      You can put way more on popcorn than just butter and salt. Add cinnamon or apple pie spice for a sweet treat, or go spicy with hot sauce, wasabi, or curry. You can also give your snack an Italian flair with grated Parmesan and a dash of olive oil. Basically, anything in your spice rack can add more flavor without very many calories when you’re eating popcorn. Want someone else to do the seasoning work for you? TryCheerie Lane, which comes in flavor-packed options like Rosemary Garlic and Lemon Black Pepper. Their unique popcorn pods also have an “antioxidant-rich” cacao butter base, a heart-healthy alternative to hydrogenated oils, and uses fresh ingredients for a powerful taste.

      Is Popcorn Healthy? 9 Reasons You Need Popcorn in Your Diet (14)iStock/Lecic

      Popcorn has more iron than spinach

      Not by much, but it’s true: According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 1 ounce (28 grams) of popcorn contains 0.9 mg of iron, while 1 cup of raw spinach (30 grams) has 0.8 mg. These numbers seem small, but adult men only need 8 mg of iron in their diet each day. Adult women, on the other hand, need 18 mg per day (because of the blood they lose during menstruation). Almost 10% of women are iron deficient, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So get your fill of iron however you can.

      For more wellness updates,follow The Healthy onFacebook,Instagram, andTwitter.Keep reading:

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      (Video) POPCORN: Can I Eat It on a Low Carb Diet?

      Is Popcorn Healthy? 9 Reasons You Need Popcorn in Your Diet (15)Medically reviewed by Cynthia Sass, MPH, RDN, CSSD, on January 06, 2020

      Originally Published: January 06, 2020

      Is Popcorn Healthy? 9 Reasons You Need Popcorn in Your Diet (16)

      Miranda Manier

      Miranda is the Associate Editor for and The Healthy section of Reader's Digest magazine. Previously, Miranda was a producer at WNIT, the PBS affiliate in South Bend, Indiana; and the producer in residence for Minneapolis TV news KARE 11, where she won an Upper Midwest Regional Emmy Award for producing gavel-to-gavel coverage of the Derek Chauvin trial. Miranda also interned at Chicago’s PBS station, WTTW, and worked as the managing editor at the Columbia Chronicle at Columbia College. Outside of work, Miranda enjoys acting, board games, and trying her hand at a good vegan dessert recipe. She also loves talking about TV—so tell her what you’re watching!

      (Video) Is Microwave Popcorn Safe to Eat?


      Is popcorn healthy or no? ›

      When it's air-popped and lightly seasoned, popcorn is an efficiently healthy snack. That's because it is a whole grain, and high-fiber whole grains have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, some cancers and other health problems.

      What are the benefits of popcorn to the body? ›

      There are a few health benefits to eating popcorn. In addition to being high in fiber, popcorn also contains phenolic acids, a type of antioxidant. In addition, popcorn is a whole grain, an important food group that may reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension in humans.

      Is it healthy to eat popcorn everyday? ›

      Because of its low calorie content, low energy density, high fiber content and increased satiety, eating popcorn may help you eat fewer calories and lose weight. However, moderation is key. Even though it is much more filling than many other snack foods, it can still be fattening if you eat too much of it.

      What is the healthiest popcorn to eat? ›

      Without a doubt, air-popped popcorn is the best type to nosh on. “It's low in calories, about 90 calories a cup and is fast and easy to make,” says Cohen.

      What popcorn does to your brain? ›


      Healthy whole grains like brown rice, whole grain bread, oatmeal and even popcorn contain fibres and vitamins that improve blood flow throughout the brain and help memory function. They also improve blood-sugar stability, which can curb study-interrupting cravings.

      What is unhealthy about popcorn? ›

      Premade popcorn often contains a high level of salt, or sodium. Eating too much sodium can cause high blood pressure and lead to other health complications. Some brands also include a lot of sugar. Added butter, sugar, and salt can make popcorn an unhealthful snack.

      Is popcorn anti aging? ›

      Popcorn carries health benefits including the ability to regulate blood sugar, improve digestive process,help protect against osteoporosis, lower cholesterol levels, help weight loss, inhibit cognitive decline, and help prevent premature aging.

      Is popcorn good for your cholesterol? ›

      Is popcorn low in cholesterol? Popcorn without added sugar or salt may have low levels of cholesterol. However, popcorn can have high levels of cholesterol if people prepare it with butter or a sugary coating, such as caramel.

      Does popcorn help belly fat? ›

      Popcorn is a great flat-belly snack as long as you choose the air-popped version—you can eat a 3-cup portion for only 100 calories! Not only that, but popcorn is also a whole grain, and studies show that people who eat whole grains have less belly fat than those who eat refined grains.

      Is it okay to eat a bag of microwave popcorn everyday? ›

      Even though some chemicals that remain in the packaging of these products may be questionable, eating microwave popcorn from time to time shouldn't pose any health risks. But if you're still worried or consume a lot of popcorn, there's no need to give it up as a snack.

      How many bags of popcorn should I eat a day? ›

      Each day you can have 5 to 8 ounces, or equivalents, from this food group. At least half of your servings, or about 3 to 4 ounces, should come from whole-grain sources, like popcorn. Based on this recommendation, set forth in the USDA's, a 1-ounce equivalent from the grain group is 3 cups of popcorn.

      What is popcorn high in? ›

      It's high in fiber.

      As a whole grain, popcorn is a good source of fiber. According to the American Heart Association, popcorn contains more fiber per serving than whole wheat bread. A 3-cup serving of popcorn contains 3 to 4 grams of fiber, Walsh says.

      Is popcorn good for the heart? ›

      You probably don't think of popcorn as a whole grain or high in fiber, but it's both! That means it can help improve your heart health—but only if you don't drown it in butter or margarine.

      Is popcorn healthier than pasta? ›

      Basically, a serving of white pasta has 200 calories, 2 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein. But if you eat eight cups of unsalted, air-popped popcorn (which is a whole grain, BTW), you'll rack up 10 grams of fiber and protein while still staying under 250 calories.

      What are the 3 foods that fight memory loss? ›

      What are the foods that fight memory loss? Berries, fish, and leafy green vegetables are 3 of the best foods that fight memory loss. There's a mountain of evidence showing they support and protect brain health.

      What is the main cause of forgetfulness? ›

      Forgetfulness can arise from stress, depression, lack of sleep or thyroid problems. Other causes include side effects from certain medicines, an unhealthy diet or not having enough fluids in your body (dehydration). Taking care of these underlying causes may help resolve your memory problems.

      What food helps your memory? ›

      11 Best Foods to Boost Your Brain and Memory
      • Fatty fish. When people talk about brain foods, fatty fish is often at the top of the list. ...
      • Coffee. If coffee is the highlight of your morning, you'll be glad to hear that it's good for you. ...
      • Blueberries. ...
      • Turmeric. ...
      • Broccoli. ...
      • Pumpkin seeds. ...
      • Dark chocolate. ...
      • Nuts.

      Is popcorn worse than sugar? ›

      Popcorn and glycemic index

      Air-popped popcorn has a GI of 55. It is technically a low-GI food, even though it has a higher GI than many other foods in this category. Popcorn remains a better snack option than many salty or sugary snacks for avoiding high blood sugar and diabetes complications.

      Is microwave popcorn a healthy snack? ›

      Two cups of plain popcorn have 2.3 grams of fiber and just 62 calories. “Without the added butter and high-fat seasoning, the food is quite a healthy snack,” agrees Gregory J. Privitera, associate professor of psychology at St.

      Is popcorn good for you when trying to Lose Weight? ›

      Popcorn has good nutrition stats

      A 1-ounce serving (about 3½ cups) has 4 grams of fiber, almost 4 grams of protein and clocks in at 110 calories. This combination makes it a snack with staying power with very few calories, which can help with weight loss.

      Is popcorn better than junk food? ›

      It's low in fat, calories, sugar, and sodium.

      As long as you stick the to the appropriate serving size, which is about one cup, plain popcorn is a much better choice than junk food, such as potato chips and cheese crackers. And even if you eat three times the serving size, you'll still clock in at only 96 calories.


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