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Popcorn – A Healthy Snack

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Popcorn – A Healthy Snack

Eat popcorn without butter, salt and sugar could be as healthy as eating fruit…

Researchers have found that popcorn, already known as a great source of fiber, also contains higher levels of antioxidants than some fruits and vegetables, which could make it the new super food for snaking.

Antioxidants are vital compounds, often found in plants, which help repair the damage done by molecules known as free radicals. Consumption of super food containing high levels of antioxidants have been linked to a reduced risk of cancer.

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Popcorn Packed With Antioxidants

Image Credit: Cyclonebill, 2008.

Vinson, together with colleague Michael Coco, Jr., a chemistry student at the university, analyzed four commercial brands of popcorn, including two air-popped and two microwave varieties. They looked for one particular type of antioxidant known as polyphenols. They found that one serving of popcorn contained between 242-363 milligrams, compared to an average serving of fruit which contains just 160mg.

Joe Vinson, PhD, professor of chemistry at the University of Scranton put it simply:

Based on fiber, whole grains, and antioxidant levels, popcorn is the king of snack foods,

However the pair did note that it’s not exactly known how much of the nutrients in popcorn are absorbed by the body. Popcorns polyphenols are not as diluted with water as those are in fruit, Vinson explained popcorn starts out about 15% water and ends up a couple percent.

This could affect how the nutrients are absorbed into the blood, which is the focus of the nest stage in the study.

Experts say this doesn’t mean you should skip on fruit and veg, but it is great news for popcorn lovers.

The study, which was partially funded by Weaver Popcorn Company, was presented at the American Chemical Societys annual meeting, San Diego.



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