It is said that Native Americans discovered popcorn by chance when they threw some of the whole ears of the corn in the fire, and it suddenly started popping like crazy. Since then popcorn has become one of the favorite snacks all around the world.
Popcorn is easy to make, cheap and gets delightfully stuck in your teeth.
And today we have one more reason to enjoy popcorn, as scientists have discovered that it’s packed with polyphenols the famous antioxidant.
Joe Vinson, Ph.D. leader of this new research not only has found that popcorn are concentrated with polyphenols but, moreover, that it’s the hull of corn kernel that has the highest concentration of polyphenols and fiber.
The study found out that the amount of polyphenols in popcorn was up to 300 mg a serving, which is equal to almost 13% of an average daily recommended intake of polyphenols a day per person.
“Nutritional gold nuggets” that’s how Vinson named the hulls after completing the study. “Popcorn may be the perfect snack food. It’s the only snack that is 100% unprocessed whole grain. 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 serving of whole grains a day, and popcorn could fill that gap in a very pleasant way” the researcher added.
However, the health benefits of popcorn go as far as you prepare them: cook it in a potful of oil, pour butter (or fake butter) and salt; eat it as “kettle corn” in oil and sugar, or caramelized and what is a very healthy food quickly becomes a food loaded with fat and calories.
Let’s make a ranking to understand how you should enjoy popcorn:
1) air popped popcorn has the lowest number of calories.
2) popcorn popped in a pan with oil has twice as many calories as air-popped with 28% of fat.
3) microwave popcorn has more than twice calories as air-popped with 43% of fat.
The moment you start pouring melted butter and heaps of salt on it well, it becomes a snack mayhem. So be sure to enjoy it as “raw” as possible and if possible buy the organic variety.
Finally, the fact that popcorn is an healthy snack and contains precious antioxidants doesn’t mean you can replace fruits and veggies with popcorn. Fruits and vegetables contain vitamins and other nutrients that are critical for good health but are not present in popcorn.
The Iron You
The above story is reprinted from materials provided by American Chemical Society (ACS)