Did you just do a double take reading the title of this post? That was my reaction when I read the study that came out this week.
Scientists at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania have concluded there are greater amounts of polyphenols in popcorn than in fruits and vegetables. Polyphenols are antioxidants that can reverse damage to the body caused by molecules known as free radicals, the culprits that lead to heart disease and certain cancers. The study also asserts that popcorn is a 100% whole grain food, making it an excellent source of fiber.
With all of its nutritional content, should we throw out fruits and vegetables and eat popcorn instead? Absolutely not! Even though popcorn has a higher concentration of polyphenols, it doesn’t contain the other antioxidants or vital nutrients found in fresh produce.
The best way to maximize the nutritional power of popcorn is to eat it in its natural state, skipping the oils, butter, salt and other calorie-laden toppings. Movie-style popcorn is one of the worst varieties, with up to 1,200 calories and three times the recommended daily allowance of saturated fat per serving! Air-popped corn is the most figure-friendly version, with about 30 calories per cup. Compared to other crunchy snacks like potato chips (150 calories) and snack mixes (200 calories), air-popped corn is a clear winner!
To liven up your air-popped popcorn, try one or all of the following:
· Sprinkle it with Parmesan cheese for a savory touch
· Add lime zest and a dash of cayenne for a little heat
· Dust it with cinnamon for a sweet note
Do you find this news about popcorn’s antioxidants surprising? Let me know your reactions to the study in the comments below!