Olive oil is a popular cooking ingredient that adds a lot of flavor and it can also be used as an alternative to butter on popcorn. However, the taste and texture can change significantly depending on how you use it.
A pro of using olive oil to make popcorn is that it has many health benefits like being rich in monosaturated fats. A con of using olive oil to make popcorn is that it has a low smoke point, which can cause it to burn when using it to pop popcorn.
To make a delicious tasting bowl of popcorn at home, read on and learn the pros and cons of using olive oil with your popcorn, along with what to keep in mind before adding it to your next batch.
Pros of Using Olive Oil With Popcorn
Instead of lathering your popcorn with butter as they do at movie theatres, you can substitute olive oil for a healthier option. Olive oil has greater nutritional benefits when consumed, while still giving the popcorn a great taste.
Keep the pros below in mind when you are trying to decide whether to go with unhealthy butter or olive oil when making popcorn.
Olive Oils is Rich in Monounsaturated Fats
There are several types of fats that exist in the body and most nutritionists separate these fats into two categories: healthy and unhealthy fats.
Healthy fats are what we need in the body to function effectively and unhealthy fats can cause disease if too much is consumed.
Olive oil has about 73% of its total oil content made up of monounsaturated fats and only 14% made up of saturated fats.
Monounsaturated fats help you regulate good levels of LDH cholesterol while simultaneously lowering bad cholesterol levels.
Olive Oil Has a Large Number of Antioxidants
You may have heard of a new category of foods, called “superfoods”. What this really means is they are high in antioxidants.
Antioxidants are like regulators that run through your body, capturing all the free radicals (bad parts) that have the potential to cause disease.
Heart disease and cancer are two significant ailments that can potentially be avoided by the introduction of antioxidants. Olive oil happens to be very high in antioxidants and using it with your popcorn improves your protection against disease.
Olive Oil is Anti-Inflammatory
Inflammation is thought to be a leading cause of some of the most persistent diseases that affect humans.
Because of its high number of antioxidants, olive oil is a natural anti-inflammatory and can reduce your inflammation, similar to the way ibuprofen does.
In fact, if you were to add about 3.4 teaspoons of olive oil to your popcorn, it would be 10% as effective as ibuprofen for reducing inflammation.
If you are looking for ways to flavor your popcorn check out the article 11 Simple Ways to Flavor Your Popcorn
Olive Oil Protects Against Heart Disease
Recently, scientists noticed that people living in the Mediterranean had a reduced chance of suffering from heart-related problems than the rest of the world.
This led to in-depth studies into the Mediterranean diet and it was discovered that olive oil was one of the main ingredients used.
If added to your popcorn, olive oil has the potential to lower bad cholesterol, improve blood vessel linings, and prevent excessive blood clotting.
Cons of Using Olive Oil With Popcorn
Just because olive oil has some inherited health benefits, it doesn’t mean that you can put as much as you want on your popcorn. Depending on how you make your popcorn and how much olive oil you use, there could be significant cons to using it.
Olive Oil Has a Low Smoking Point
Olive oil is known for having a relatively low smoking point. This means that the oil will start to smoke when it gets too hot.
This won’t be a problem if you plan on adding the olive oil once your popcorn has been popped, but it could be problematic if you are using a stovetop.
If you add olive oil to a pan before adding your kernels, there is a chance they could be exposed to smoke from burning olive oil. This will alter the taste and flavor in a negative way and ruin your popcorn before you even have a chance to taste it.
Olive Oil is Dense in Calories
You might be excited about all the health benefits olive oil can bring, but that doesn’t mean you can start coating your popcorn with as much as you want. Before you go wild, you should know olive oil is very dense in calories.
With 130 calories per tablespoon, olive oil is one of the densest caloric foods you can consume. Adding too much to your popcorn, or having too much in one sitting, can fill up your calorie needs for the entire day if you aren’t careful.
Olive Oils Reacts with Free Radicals
If you are making your popcorn on a stovetop, you want to be careful not to leave the oil on the heat for too long. The chemical structure of olive oil makes it easy to bond with free radicals and can turn it into a hydrogenated oil. This oil is worse for your body and isn’t how you should ideally use olive oil on popcorn.
To avoid this issue, only apply the olive oil after your popcorn is finished.
If you are looking to pop the perfect popcorn check out the article Pop The Perfect Popcorn Every Time
Olive Oil Burns Off Healthy Elements Once Heated
To be safe when using olive oil with your popcorn, try not to heat the olive oil up at all. Heat leads to your olive oil breaking down in chemical structure and ruining many of the health benefits it offers.
The polyphenols and omega fatty acids are both broken down when olive oil is heated. Polyphenols are related to antioxidants that we talked about earlier and are good for your heart, and omega fatty acids help with the cell membranes in your body.
You can add olive oil to your popcorn to replace butter but you need to add it in the right way. Don’t overheat your oil and try to add it when your popcorn has finished popping. As long as you stick to a small amount in your popcorn, you can enjoy a full serving while feeling good about your health.