Popcorn packed with antioxidants, hidden health benefits?
nutritional qualities — assuming it's not smothered in butter, oil and salt.
Researchers at the University of Scranton (Pa.) ran a lab
analysis on the content in several types and brands of popcorn and found that
the crunchy hull is rich in polyphenols — antioxidants that prevent damage to
cells. Polyphenols also may have disease-fighting properties.
"The hull is where the most nutritional goodies
(polyphenols) are — not the white fluffy part," says chemistry professor Joe
Vinson, senior author of the study, which was partially funded by a popcorn
company. Vinson also has studied chocolate, coffee, spices and cereals. The
popcorn findings were presented Sunday at a meeting of the American Chemical
Society in San Diego.
Vinson says polyphenols are concentrated in hulls because
popcorn doesn't have a lot of water and because it's 100% whole grain. Some
other foods that have polyphenols, such as fruits and vegetables, contain a lot
Not by popcorn alone
Popcorn is usually minimally processed, he says. "We know
whole grains are good for us in fighting a number of chronic diseases, but we
don't know why yet. People thought it was just the fiber that made popcorn a
healthful choice, but in my opinion, it's the combination of fiber and
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