Popcorn May Actually Be Good for You

New research suggests that the most annoying part of popcorn, the hull, is packed with antioxidants.

While this is great news for popcorn lovers, it does not diminish the role of fruits and vegetables in the diet. They contain essential vitamins and minerals as well as other phytochemicals not found in popcorn.

Popcorn may be the perfect snack food if prepared correctly. Air-popped popcornis low in calories and fat, high in fiber, and contains no sugar or sodium. Cooked in a lot of oil, drowned in butter, and heavily salted, such as movie theater popcorn, it quickly becomes a nutritional nightmare. Microwave popcorn is roughly 43 percent fat while popcorn cooked in oil is about 28 percent fat.

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.

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.”

The Dietary Guidelines recommend at least three servings of whole grain foods each day, and a serving of popcorn fulfills one of those. Three cups of popped corn is considered a serving. 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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