Popcorn has higher antioxidant levels than fruits and vegetables
Joe Vinson, Ph.D., a pioneer in analysing healthful components in chocolate, nuts and other common foods, explained that the polyphenols are more concentrated in popcorn, which averages only about 4 per cent water, while polyphenols are diluted in the 90 per cent water that makes up many fruits and vegetables.
In another surprising finding, the researchers discovered that the hulls of the popcorn -- the part that everyone hates for its tendency to get caught in the teeth -- actually has the highest concentration of polyphenols and fibre.
"Those hulls deserve more respect. They are nutritional gold nuggets," said Vinson, who is with the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania.
Vinson concluded, "Popcorn may be the perfect snack food. It's the only snack that is 100 per cent 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 per cent of the weight of the product is whole grain. One serving of popcorn will provide more than 70 per cent of the daily intake of whole grain. The average person only gets about half a serving of whole grains a day, and popcorn could fill that gap in a very pleasant way."
However, Vinson cautioned that the way people prepare and serve popcorn can quickly put a dent in its healthful image.