|Startling New Research Suggests Popcorn is a Powerful Super Food
Although popcorn has taken a beating for its tendency to end up in
compromising positions -- like slathered in “golden flavor” at the movie
theater or harboring offensive chemicals courtesy of microwave-popping packaging -- new research is showing that it is a super-nutrient powerhouse.
easily-attainable popcorn! Take that, you miracle-promising superfoods
with your exorbitant price tags and exuberant food miles. (Acai and goji
berries, are you listening?)
Joe Vinson, Ph.D., a pioneer in nutritional analyses of common foods, explained
at the 243rd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical
Society, that polyphenols are much more concentrated in popcorn which
averages only about 4 percent water. Most fresh produce contains around
90 percent of water which dilutes this special class of antioxidants.
new study found that the amount of polyphenols found in popcorn was as
high as 300 mg a serving compared to 114 mg for a serving of sweet corn
and 160 mg for a serving of fruit. In addition, one serving of popcorns
provide around 13 percent of a daily average intake of polyphenols per
person in the U.S.
And aside from the remarkable polyphenol content, popcorn is a whole grain!
Said Vinson of the findings,
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
The caveat: Beware of which kind of
popcorn you eat. Movie popcorn, kettle corn, microwave popcorn, and the
like can become nutritional nightmares when subjected to copious amounts
of butter, fake butter, sugar, corn syrup, what-have-you. (A small
popcorn at the nation’s largest movie chain, Regal, has 670 calories--the same as a Pizza Hut Personal Pepperoni Pan Pizza.)
popcorn is about 43 percent fat, along with other possibly suspect
ingredients. Air-popped popcorn has the lowest amount of calories, and
home-popped in oil has the second lowest amount.
Pop Your Own
You don’t need an air-popper or microwave to make your own. Here’s the
basic procedure for stovetop popping: Pour 3 tablespoons of olive oil
(or a milder cooking oil if you like a neutral taste) into a large,
heavy pot and place on medium-high heat. Put two or three kernels in,
and when one has popped, pour in 1/3 cup of popcorn and cover pan. When
corn begins to pop, shake constantly, letting steam escape from the pot
to prevent sogginess. When popping slows considerably, remove pan from
heat and pour into a large bowl. Season to taste. Enjoy.
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