New research suggests that the most annoying part of popcorn, the hull, is packed with antioxidants.
If you think popcorn is just another salty snack, think again. A new study is bringing popcorn into the same arena as fruits and vegetables. They are nutritional powerhouses.
Popcorn contains more polyphenols, healthy antioxidant compounds than fruits and vegetables, according to a report presented at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society.
Joe Vinson, PhD, a leader in analyzing the healthy components of common foods, explained that popcorn only contains about four percent water while fruits and vegetables are 90 percent water. Because of this, the polyphenols in fruits and vegetables are diluted, while those in popcorn are concentrated. This study found that popcorn contains up to 300 mg of polyphenols in a serving; sweet corn contains 114 mg; and fruits contain 160 mg.
Air-popped corn contains less than 100 calories in a serving while corn popped in oil has about twice as many calories.
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It turns out that the popcorn hull, in spite of its aggravating tendency to get stuck between the teeth, is a nutritional powerhouse. The concentration of polyphenols and fiber are even higher in the hull. Vinson called them "nutritional gold nuggets."