Popcorn is a health food

Popcorn contains as much healthy antioxidants as fruit and vegetables, scientists claim

Popcorn and some wholegrain breakfast cereals carry as many health-boosting antioxidants as fruit and vegetables, according to a new survey revealed at the American Chemical Society annual conference.

Researchers discovered that these foods contained ‘surprisingly large’ levels of natural plant antioxidant substances or polyphenols which help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and other diseases.

Polyphenols are found in a high proportion of fruits and vegetables. They remove chemicals that can damage cells and body tissue – free radicals – from the body, and have up to 10 times the antioxidant effect as vitamins C and E.  Now popcorn and breakfast cereals could potentially be just as effective.

Dr. Joe Vinson, of the University of Scranton, Pennsylvania, headed the new study. ‘Early researchers thought the fibre was the active ingredient for these benefits in whole grains,’ he said.

‘But recently, polyphenols emerged as potentially more important. We found that whole grain products have comparable antioxidants per gram to fruits and vegetables,’ he added.

According to Dr Vinson a cup of popcorn contains the same level of polyphenols as an apple.

‘In my opinion it’s a good health food,’ he said.

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