Is popcorn healthy?

Popcorn has come a long way since its cinema-only days, with so-called “healthy” popcorn brands lining our supermarket shelves and petrol stations, but is popcorn really healthy?

One recent article from MedicalNewsToday looks at the potential health benefits of popcorn as a snack and highlights that it is often the flavourings or the way the popcorn has been cooked that make it less healthy and not the popcorn itself.

The article lists popcorn’s nutritional benefits as:

- Wholegrain
- Source of fibre
- Source of vitamins and minerals
- Source of protein
- Low fat and sugar content
- No cholesterol

According to the article, the best way of cooking popcorn is to air-pop the popcorn kernels, avoiding cooking them in oil.

Colourful fruits and vegetables could support eye health

Recent research from the University of South Australia has found that eating colourful fruit and vegetables that are rich in antioxidants could support eye health.

The research, which was reported on in this article from Science Daily, looked at 20 different studies from around the world and concluded that eating citrus fruits, capsicum, carrots, tomatoes and dark green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli and kale could benefit our eye health, contributing to a reduced risk of age-related cataracts.

It is noted that there were some inconsistencies and that this was an analysis of different studies and not a dedicated study in itself but, according to the article, the findings “overwhelmingly support the benefits [of eating these fruits and vegetables]”.

Are the nutritional benefits higher in cooked or uncooked vegetables?

cooked or raw food health benefits

There has been much debate over the years over the potential benefits of eating vegetables raw, but is there any truth in it?

This article ‘Does cooking vegetables increase their nutrient value?’published by The Sampson Independent, suggests there could actually be nutritional benefits to cooking some vegetables.

Referencing the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the article notes the following vegetables and fruits where cooking actually increases the food’s nutrient value:

- Tomatoes, which are rich in vitamin C and lycopene
- Broccoli, where steaming and grilling broccoli are the preferred methods for cooking to enhance the nutrient content
- Carrots are best boiled, where research suggests this retains the most vitamin C and carotenoids
- Pumpkin, which includes other winter squash, where cooking is said to release compounds like lycopene and carotenoids making them easier to absorb
- Asparagus has a tough outer layer, therefore cooking the vegetable helps break this down, allowing for better absorption of essential nutrients.

Share your thoughts

What did you think of the findings covered in this week’s Nutrition News? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Alison Astill-Smith author Alison is Director and Founder of Metabolics who writes about Metabolics updates, events and natural healthcare. Her experience and passion for natural supplements and healthcare comes from her years of experience as a practising osteopath, having founded Metabolics in her search for high quality, natural products in her own work. Alison has been a qualified and practising Osteopath since 1981 and regularly gives seminars on a range of healthcare subjects to the wider practitioner community helping share her knowledge and experience.