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Natural Popcorn

Popcorn is loved around the world. Traces of corn, as old as 80,000 years, have been found in Mexico City from fossilized pollen.

Popcorn ears have also been found in New Mexico that are around 5,600 years past their expiration date, and 1,000 year old popcorn kernels have been uncovered in Peru as well as Southwest Utah.

No wonder it has stayed around, as it is a portable, healthy treat.

Popcorn is high in fiber. The hulls are also loaded with antioxidant rich polyphenols, which aid in warding off coronary artery disease and keeps blood sugar at optimal levels. Popcorn also contains ferulic acid, an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent that helps fight off diabetes and certain cardiovascular and neuro-degenerative conditions.

Though popcorn has numerous health benefits, several studies have shown major concern over the effects from unnatural chemicals in the flavorings of the microwave variety. The component diacetyl is a found in the bags, which actually increases harm to atypical brain proteins, such as those found in Alzheimer’s disease. Current studies have raised severe concern over those employed at popcorn factories where repeated exposure to this chemical is a daily danger.

If you want to avoid microwave popcorn, you can easily pop your own.

Popcorn kernels contain water and starch, which when heated expands and creates steam pressure causing the starch to pop. Stovetop popping recipes are fairly simple.

Put a few drops of natural oil and popcorn kernels in a large heat safe bowl. Cook over low to medium heat for a few minutes, continually stirring until it starts to pop. Be sure not to allow the oil to overheat or the popcorn will burn.

If you are prone to pour on the butter and salt, there are some healthier options. Cheeses and herbs, try parmesan and chives for instance, are good combinations with warm popcorn. Olive oil, cinnamon and a little sugar tossed in works well, and dried fruits and nuts are good choices also.

Popcorn is a sustaining treat welcomed by all ages, and yet another delight provided by nature.

Sources:
United States Department of Agriculture:  Special Collections: Popcorn, Ingrained in America’s Agricultural History
FoodChannel.com: Popcorn’s Surprising Health Benefits

 

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