Wow! Popcorn has been enjoyed by cultures throughout the world for more than 6,000 years. Wherever corn grew, popcorn was eaten too. I've been imagining how it was first discovered. I picture people of early civilizations gathered around an evening campfire. Perhaps a dry husk of corn was too close to the heat and began its explosive transformation. Can you see the rapid scattering of people as they react to the popping blasts of noise?
Some brave person had to be curious enough to walk back to the fire to investigate what was happening. I wonder if I would be curious enough to do so. Would I be willing to be the first to taste the puffy white stuff that looks so different from the hard, dry, yellow kernels on the corn husk?
Looking back, there had to have been a few adventurous souls in each culture — individuals willing to experiment with heat and corn kernels to learn how to predictably create perfectly popped popcorn. I wish I'd been there!
Popcorn is one of my favorite snacks. It's light and crunchy and fun to eat. I didn’t expect it to have much nutritional value, but conflicting good and bad stories piqued my interest. Luckily today we have the science to provide the answer, and it's good news.
The health benefits of popcorn include its ability to regulate blood sugar, lower cholesterol, improve digestion, protect against osteoporosis, prevent cancer, inhibit cognitive decline, and prevent premature aging. These benefits come from from its impressive levels of fiber, polyphenolic compounds, antioxidants, vitamin B complex, manganese, and magnesium.
I won’t spoil your enjoyment by giving you more details, just know that corn only requires heat to transform into this crunchy, low calorie, healthy, snack — and if you add oil or too much salt the benefits disappear.
So please join me. Hope you like a little salt and lots of pepper!