The basic principles of healthy eating during pregnancy remain more or less the same – getting plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains and healthy fats. If you are pregnant, you will definitely find yourself in need of some good snacks someday, because one thing pregnancy is sure to do is, increase your cravings. Thousands of years of human agricultural practices and plant domestication went into giving us the popcorn we love today. Eating popcorn is one of the best things you can do for your health (so long as you avoid too many extra additives) as it is only really one step away from eating a vegetable. Now that you’re pregnant, you’re not only thinking about your health but also the health of your growing baby. There is not much to worry about if your increased cravings lead to an increase in popcorn consumption.
Popcorn is one of the healthiest snacks out there, nutrition wise – Hands down!
Yes, you read that right, popcorn is considered the perfect snack during pregnancy and it’s all because of the fact that it’s a pure and simple whole grain. As a whole grain, it has a large concentration of zinc and other essential vitamins and minerals. It also contains a lot of selenium and more antioxidants than most fruits and vegetables. With these ingredients, popcorn happens to be a vital food for protecting the development and strength of your unborn child’s cell membranes.
Excess amounts of butter and toffee flavouring may hamper its health benefits somewhat however there are numerous flavourings out there that guarantee a seriously tasty and very healthy snack indeed. If your taste buds have changed somewhat during pregnancy and spice is no longer your thing then you could do something creative. For some it might be the citrus flavour and others would even want mocha!
If you find yourself struggling to pick a healthy flavour then you could purchase a bags of unpopped kernels. These are ideal for storing at home and popping a cup full as and when you fancy. You can either keep things super healthy by eating them completely plain popcorn, allowing yourself and your baby to enjoy the pure and simple benefits of whole grain popcorn or just add your own flavouring from the kitchen. This method is ideal for pregnant women that find their taste buds changing the further along their pregnancy they move. It doesn’t matter if you fancy something sweet, savoury or something completely way out there because it will be solely down to you what you put on it.
Health Benefits of Popcorn
All of the vitamins and minerals contained in popcorn results in some pretty fantastic health benefits that will make you appreciate the wonderful snack even more.
● Aids in Digestion
Popcorn has a significant amount of fiber that comes from the bran. It also has a significant number of vitamins and minerals that help to improve your digestion. Consuming popcorn can also alleviate constipation, which is a regularly occurring problem during pregnancy.
● High in Protein
Believe it or not, popcorn actually has a lot of protein in it. Your developing child needs protein to build new cells and muscle tissue.
● The risks associated
There is no harm in eating popcorn as long as you are having the normal variety, that is, without any toppings. Ideally, you are supposed to eat popcorn that does not have too many condiments like salt, butter, or caramel. When there’s much salt in your food, it results in an imbalance of the sodium content in the body, which can lead to water retention, fluctuations in blood pressure, and many more complications. This is especially harmful for the pregnant woman. Sugary caramel, on the other hand, is also not a very good idea, as excessive consumption of sugar leads to a host of health problems, which is aggravated during pregnancy sometimes as gestational diabetes. Butter, if eaten in immoderate quantities, will also lead to the buildup of fat and a possible imbalance in the sodium levels in the system.
How to gobble up the Popcorn without any risks?
- As a rule be very sparing in the salt that you use.
- Do not microwave your popcorn. Get the kind in a popping tin as the bags tend to have a lining of a chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid. It is associated with low birth weight and a number of other pregnancy issues.
- The artificial butter flavoring – yes that’s the label you generally pick and we know you most commonly contain diacetyl or its’ compounds. The manufacturers conveniently list it under “artificial flavouring agent”. It has been associated with lung diseases in animal testing.
- Crush your pepper and drizzle a few tablespoons of olive oil, along with half a cup of popcorn kernels. Cover it up and cook it at medium high until the popping stops and season with half a teaspoon of salt. You can thank us later!
Also, while you are getting that popping pan or the tin, why not stock up on some movies or the long time pending series that you’ve wanted to watch? After all, popcorn isn’t just about the nutrition and the cravings… It’s about the nostalgia!