Popcorn has more antioxidants than fruits, veggies

by Staff
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SAN DIEGO — Popcorn contains more polyphenol antioxidants than fruits or vegetables, according to findings presented at the national meeting and exposition of the American Chemical Society.

Polyphenols are more concentrated in popcorn as the snack contains only about 4% water whereas polyphenols are diluted in many fruits and vegetables that contain as much as 90% water. In addition, the hulls of popcorn, the part that typically gets stuck in one’s teeth, actually have the highest concentration of polyphenols and fiber.

“Popcorn may be the perfect snack food,” said Joe Vinson with the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania. “It’s the only snack that is 100% unprocessed whole grains. All other grains are processed and diluted with other ingredients, and although cereals are called ‘whole grain,’ this simply means that over 51% of the weight of the product is whole grain. One serving of popcorn will provide more than 70% of the daily intake of whole grain. The average person only gets about half a serving of whole grains a day, and popcorn could fill that gap in a very pleasant way.”

Despite the findings, the health halo of popcorn may still be reduced if it’s cooked in oil and loaded with butter and salt. Air-popped is the best preparation method. In addition, Mr. Vinson said popcorn cannot replace fruits and vegetables in one’s diet for other health benefits. Nevertheless, the study found the amount of polyphenols in popcorn was up to 300 mg per serving compared with 114 mg per serving for sweet corn and 160 mg per serving for fruits.

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