Popcorn offers a filling snack option for those afternoon cravings! This staple of the movie theater refreshment counter offers a nutritious option to sugar-laden snacks.
A University of Scranton researcher, Joe Vinson, PhD., cited studies that identify popcorn as loaded with polyphenols, disease-fighting antioxidants. One particularly potent antioxidant in popcorn is ferulic acid. Ferulic acid, noted for its anti-inflammatory properties, is linked to treating cancer, diabetes, as well as cardiovascular and Alzheimer’s diseases.
Although many fruits and vegetables contain these same polyphenols, popcorn contains a mere 4 percent water as compared to the 94 percent found in fruits and vegetables, and therefore the polyphenols in popcorn are much less diluted. .
Popcorn is also the perfect snack choice if you’re concerned about getting enough whole grains in your daily diet, since it is composed of 100 percent whole grain. A single serving can provide 70 percent of the recommended daily amount of whole grain for an adult!
Buttery, Salted, or Plain?
Of course, if you’re considering popcorn as a healthy snack, you’ll want to carefully choose the type of corn that you pop. While movie theater popcorn, with all of its buttery, salty goodness may be quite a tasty treat, a small serving can contain almost 700 calories. On the other hand, a cup of plain, air-popped popcorn can contain as few as 30 calories.
Keep in mind too that while popcorn may be a great source of polyphenols, that doesn’t mean that you should stop eating your Brussels sprouts. Professor Vinson warns, ”I don’t want people to think they can just eat popcorn to get all the polyphenols they need. I don’t want them to think of popcorn as an alternative to fruits and vegetables.”