Popcorns are one of the most popular snacks across the globe. However, one of the frequently asked questions by those who suffer from diabetes is “Is Popcorn Healthy for Diabetes?” Well, diabetes is a complicated condition and several precautions need to be maintained by those suffering from it. If certain precautions and recommendations are followed, popcorn can be considered a healthy snack option for diabetes. However, an expert advice is always recommended on “can a diabetic eat popcorn or not”?.
In this article, we shall explore the relationship between diabetes and popcorn and whether consuming popcorn is healthy for those suffering from diabetes.
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Health Facts Related to Popcorn
Before we get into the details of the relationship between popcorn and diabetes, let us see a few facts related to our favorite snack:
- Popcorns are a rich source of various minerals and vitamins namely Vitamin A, B6, E, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, amongst a host of other minerals.
- It is a rich source of whole-grain which our body requires.
- As otherwise believed, popcorn can be a very healthy snack and fresh popcorns do not contain too many calories. If you take 5 cups of this delicious and easy to make snack, you are in taking only 100-150 calories.
- It is a rich source of both fiber as well as protein.
- The snack is a rich source of minerals such as potassium, magnesium, copper, as well as zinc.
- It is a rich source of antioxidants due to the presence of polyphenols.
- Finally, popcorns do not contain too much of carbohydrates. They only contain about 6 grams of the carbs.
Health Benefits of Popcorn for Diabetes Patients
Extremely nutritious popcorns are a very healthy snacking option. Let us look into some of the health benefits which popcorns have to offer to those suffering from diabetes:
- As seen above, popcorn can be considered to be a very effective whole grain food item. Hence those who include this snack item in the diet are known to consume 250% more whole seeds as compared to those who do not consume popcorn at all. Whole grain, as we know, is very important for people suffering from diabetes.
- The snack is a very rich source of fibre. Because of this, a patient feels fuller for a longer period of time thereby aiding in weight maintenance of a diabetic patient. As we know one of the best ways to effectively manage diabetes is by shedding all those extra calories.
- Besides, when a diabetes patient makes popcorn a part of his or her daily diet, the risks of contracting several heart-related diseases are reduced to a great extent. Cardiovascular diseases are one of the most dangerous complications in diabetes patients.
- Popcorn is also known to reduce the level of bad cholesterol from our body thereby helping to reduce the risks of several complications associated with the condition.
- The risk of contracting type 2 diabetes is significantly reduced with the regular intake of popcorn as the snack helps in smoothening the circulation of blood throughout the human body.
- The rich fiber content of this easy to make snack plays a very important role in maintaining the desired level of blood sugar in our body.
- The polyphenols present in the snack plays a very important role in lending antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to popcorns. This, in turn, goes a long way in helping to avoid several diabetes related complications such as heart diseases, kidney diseases, skin related conditions, amongst others.
Although popcorns have several benefits for diabetes patients, the patients should consume this otherwise healthy snack by following a few precautions. The following paragraph will explain a few precautions that should be kept in mind while making this snack a part of your daily diet, particularly if you suffer from diabetes.
Precautions While Consuming Popcorn
Can diabetics eat popcorn in regular diet? As mentioned above, popcorn can be a healthy snack for all those who are suffering from diabetes. However, it is necessary to follow the below-mentioned precautions:
- Count the carbs that you are taking in with every serving of popcorn. If you are well within the recommended grams of carbohydrates intake, it is healthy for you to include popcorn in your daily diet even if you are someone who suffers from diabetes.
- No fat or sugar should be added to the air-popped popcorn as these are considered unhealthy for diabetes patients.
- Learn to distinguish between air-popped popcorn and the popcorn you eat in movies. Movie popcorn has several numbers of add-ons which make it extremely unhealthy. We are talking about air-popped popcorn which is devoid of any kind of butter, salt, or other types of available add-ons.
- As per the American Diabetes Association, the add-ons which can be included in the healthy air-popped popcorn can be thyme, olive oil, garlic powder, and a few other healthy herbs.
- Diabetes patients can easily eat one bag of air-popped popcorn which will amount to an approximately 100 to 120 calories.
Recommended Portion Size of Popcorns for Diabetic Patients
As noted, eating of popcorns will not be harmful to diabetes, if the patient is aware of the recommended portion size. Following is the total portion size that is recommended for this snack by the American Diabetes Association:
- Avoid different types of add-ons to this snack as that will increase the intake of carbohydrates.
- However, if you do want to add-on something, use just minimal amounts of cheese, salt, garlic powder, or olive oil.
- As per the American Diabetes Association, the recommended maximum quantity of popcorn at one time is somewhere around one to two servings which is around 15 to 30 grams of carbohydrates.
Why is Popcorn Considered Safer for Diabetics When Compared to Other Snack Items?
Here are the reasons why popcorn is considered a safer and healthier option as compared to other snack items such as French fries and other chips for those suffering from the condition:
- A small bag of popcorn contains merely 120 to 150 grams of calories, 12 to 15 grams of carbohydrates, 150 grams of sodium, and 10 grams of fat. These are the quantities which are considered healthy for patients suffering from diabetes.
- The rich minerals and vitamins found herein makes it high in fiber, low in cholesterol which is considered ideal for diabetes management.
- It is completely whole grain which is very healthy.
Hence, as is clear from the above post, popcorns are healthy for those suffering from diabetes. Having said that, we need to remember that only the air-popped popcorns are the healthy options. Only a few recommended add-ons can be made into it. However, it is important to follow the precautions and consult an expert before including the snack in your regular diet!!