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Popcorn: Packed With Antioxidants!

03.29.12 Popcorn: Packed With Antioxidants!


Good news! A team of researchers from the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania has found that popcorn contains as much, if not more healthful antioxidants than fruits and vegetables. According to Joe Vinson, PhD, who presented the findings at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society, "popcorn may be the perfect snack food." .

This new study reveals that popcorn is unusually rich in polyphenols. Antioxidant compounds called polyphenols, which have been associated with combating cancer, are more commonly found in produce. Vinson's study measured the exact amount and found that it contains about twice as many as fresh sweet corn or fruit per serving. Polyphenols are diluted up to 90% in most fruits and vegetables because of their high water content. The concentration is higher in popcorn because it only contains about 4% water. In fact, the hulls (what you end up picking out of your teeth), actually have the highest concentration of polyphenols and fiber. Vinson calls the hulls, "nutritional gold nuggets."

"It's the only snack that is 100 percent unprocessed whole grain," says Vinson. "One serving of popcorn will provide more than 70% of the daily intake of whole grain. We also have Vinson to thank for pioneering studies that analyzed the healthful components in chocolate, nuts and red wine.

Of course, popcorn is not meant to replace fruits and vegetables, which contain many other important nutrients. And further, drowning it in butter or sugary flavorings is going to offset the nutritional benefits. To get your daily dose of antioxidants and whole grains, its healthiest to stick with plain popcorn.

At MightyNest, we love popcorn. Besides the trusty stove-top method, we recommend popping kernals in a glass microwave popcorn popper. Using glass allows you to avoid the harmful chemical that lines microwave popcorn bags (and non-stick cookware) and also pop corn without any oil. The chemical that lines microwave bags is called PFOA and has been linked to both cancer and birth defects in animals and epidemiological studies suggest that they may reduce baby's birth weight in utero. Also of concern, new studies by Environmental Health Perspectives have shown links from high levels of PFOA to higher rates of thyroid disease.

Ready to pop some healthy popcorn? 

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