Is popcorn a healthier snack than fruit or vegetables? Well, it does have more antioxidants. Scientists recently broke the news to popcorn lovers wolrd-wide at the National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) that popcorn is in fact, fantastically good for you.
According to the ACS website, Joe Vinson, Ph.D., a pioneer in analyzing healthful components in chocolate, nuts and other common foods, explained that the polyphenols (antioxidants) are more concentrated in popcorn, which averages only about 4% water, while polyphenols are diluted in the 90% water that makes up many fruits and vegetables.
Vinson says that, “Popcorn may be the perfect snack food. It’s the only snack that is 100 percent 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 percent of the weight of the product is whole grain. One serving of popcorn will provide more than 70 percent 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.” Amazing.
Scientists also found that popcorn hulls (the part of the popcorn that usually gets stuck in your teeth) actually has the highest concentration of polyphenols and fiber.Of course, the way the popcorn is prepared is essential to the health benefits it provides. Kettle corn, movie theater popcorn, and microwave popcorn are usually made with tons of butter and synthetic ‘butter flavors’ and are high in calories and fat.
The best way to make your own popcorn is on your stovetop. Simply add a few tablespoons of olive or vegetable oil (olive oil tends to burn quickly so keep the fire low) to a pot — add kernels — cover and let pop. Once a few kernels start popping, lift the top of the pot a bit to give it some air. Simple as that!
Season your popcorn with anything from low-sodium soy sauce (no really, it’s so good) to nutritional yeast (an old hippie favorite).
Click here to learn more about the health benefits of popcorn.