Is popcorn a healthy snack?

PopcornWe all enjoy a bag of popcorn, especially when we are watching movies or our favorite TV shows. But is it healthy?

Popcorn can be a healthy snack. But that depends on how it’s prepared.

A healthy way to prepare popcorn would be to air-pop the popcorn in an air popper and then to add extra virgin olive oil and, if you want, a bit of sea salt after the popcorn was popped. How many calories you end up with will depend on how much olive oil you use. One cup of air popped popcorn, for instance, contains only 30 calories or so. Olive oil contains about 250 calories per ounce (or two tablespoons).

Microwave popcorn has some issues. There has been some evidence that the Teflon-like coating of some bags used for microwave popcorn can get broken down with heat into unwanted substances, including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is also studying potential problems associated with the artificial butter flavoring used in microwave popcorn.

When buying popcorn, consider organic popping corn. It’s often not much higher in price than non-organic popping corn, and the potential health benefits are there.

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