Last Updated on by San San
Despite trying to be healthy and all during pregnancy, it’s understandable to want to crave what you want at times. One of these cravings includes popcorn – I am speaking for most pregnant women. And, when the cravings surface, you just want them pronto! Well, before you indulge, isn’t it better to ask first, “can I eat popcorn while pregnant?”
Can I Eat Popcorn While Pregnant? Is It Safe?
Pregnancy is a magical time in a woman’s life, characterized by many changes in the body including hormonal, metabolic, cardiovascular, respiratory, behavioral, and even psychological.
However, the most remarkable one for a woman’s body is the belly growing as the baby develops, which lasts for around 40 weeks.
In addition to body changes, pregnancy is also marked as a period with exceptional uncertainties, especially for first-time moms. It is normal to think about what to eat, what to avoid, and many other questions that are based on the premise of protecting the developing baby.
If that was not enough, it is common for the pregnant woman to have special food cravings during this period.
For instance, have you asked yourself, “can I eat popcorn while pregnant?” Keep on reading to discover the answer to this interesting question and to understand if it is safe or not to eat popcorn while pregnant.
If I Can I Eat Popcorn While Pregnant, What Will Happen?
Popcorn is a tasty and common snack, most frequently consumed while watching movies or binge watching tv shows.
However, is it safe for pregnant women? The short answer is yes, it is.
Popcorn is a type of corn kernel that has the ability to expand and pop when heated.
Here is the truth about this magic kernel, according to a study published by the American Chemical Society (ACS), scientists suggest that popcorn may contain a remarkably high content of healthy antioxidants, even more than fruits and vegetables, which turns popcorn into a super healthy snack.
In a few words, antioxidants are basically compounds that inhibit oxidation. To be more precise, the type of antioxidant found in popcorn is called polyphenols.
This substance, which is also found in fruits and vegetables, has the capacity to remove free radicals from the body, which can damage cells, causing illness and aging. Furthermore, scientists have discovered that popcorn’s hull, the dark part inside the popcorn, has a higher polyphenol content.
Popcorn Nutrition Facts
In order to understand why popcorn is such a perfect option for a snack, take a look at its nutrition facts. According to the USDA database, in every 100 grams of air-popped popcorn there are:
|Total fat||4.3 g|
|Saturated fat||0.6 g|
|Polyunsaturated fat||2.5 g|
|Monounsaturated fat||1 g|
|Total Carbohydrate||74 g|
|Dietary fiber||13 g|
It is worth noting that popcorn is considerably voluminous, for instance, a serving of 1 cup of popcorn is equivalent to 8 grams. Having that said, you can notice that popcorn is low in calories and fat.
On the contrary, it is high in dietary fibers, potassium, and antioxidants. If that was not enough popcorn is also free of sugar and extremely low in sodium, which turns it into a perfect snack for the whole family, except for children under 4 years old due to its choking risk.
It is also worth mentioning that all of these popcorn benefits correspond to plain and simple popcorn, which basically consists of unprocessed whole grain.
If you take into consideration microwave popcorn it is a whole different story due to the several chemical flavourings added. Not to mention when there are added toppings such as butter, high amounts of salt, and so on, these simply convert a healthy snack into a not-so-healthy one.
“Eating Burnt Popcorn While Pregnant, Is It Okay?”
I will be the first to admit that I have burnt my popcorn more than once or twice, this small kitchen mishap can happen to anyone but it can be dangerous for a pregnant woman.
According to researchers smoke from burned food can harm the brain of an unborn baby, similar to pollution from fires and traffic fumes. That said, next time you make popcorn keep an eye on the oven to avoid burning it.
In the same fashion, it is important to mention that microwave popcorn is not recommended for pregnant women either, not only due to the high amount of salt and fat that it contains, but also because the bag usually contains fluorotelomers, a substance that, when exposed to high temperatures, can convert into PFOA, a substance that has been associated with developmental problems in the fetus.
What to Eat During Pregnancy?
That is a common question that many pregnant women ask, if you are overwhelmed with the large list of foods to avoid during pregnancy, here is a list of foods you can safely consume according to experts:
- Fruits and Vegetables – you can eat plenty of these, just remember to wash them thoroughly before consumption.
- Lean meat – except liver, also remember that animal products should always be well cooked.
- Whole grains – rich in fiber and vitamins. This group includes popcorn, oats, quinoa, brown rice
- Eggs – remember that it should be thoroughly cooked.
- Legumes – they are rich in fiber and protein, this group includes beans, lentils, peas, chickpeas, soybeans.
- Dairy Products – especially the low-fat varieties and remember to always choose the pasteurized variety.
Can I Eat Popcorn While Pregnant? The Conclusion
Popcorn is a tasty snack and that is unanimity. However, besides tasty is it healthy? It is normal to wonder “Can I eat popcorn while pregnant?” and luckily the answer is yes, you can! Actually, popcorn is one of the healthiest snacks available.
It is loaded with polyphenols, which is an antioxidant substance, and dietary fiber, which helps with constipation a common issue during pregnancy. If that was not enough popcorn is low in calories, fat, and sugar, so you should definitely add it to your diet.
Even though it is worth mentioning that all of the popcorn’s benefits stated above only apply to a simple and plain popcorn kernel.
Microwave popcorn is not only non-healthy but also not recommended during pregnancy, as it might contain substances linked to causing developmental problems in the fetus.