Quick: which food has the most antioxidants:
- whole wheat bread
If you said popcorn, you were right! Recent research by Dr. Joe Vinson reveals that popcorn has more “polyphenols” than most fruits or vegetables.
Polyphenols are known for their role in preventing many degenerative diseases, especially cardiovascular disease and some cancers. They may also reduce some of the oxidative damage caused by strenuous exercise, which aids the recovery process.
Dr. Vinson’s research shows that popcorn contains up to 300 mg of polyphenols per serving compared to 160 for one serving of most fruits. Sweet corn has only 114 mg per serving, making popcorn a high antioxidant food.
And there’s more good news: popcorn is the only snack food in the American diet that is 100% unprocessed whole grain. All the other grains are processed and contain additional ingredients. A single serving of popcorn will provide >70% of the daily requirement for whole grain. Most people get about half a serving of whole grain each day so popcorn could fill that void quite easily.
Of course, if you slather it with butter and salt, you put a major dent in the nutritional value of popcorn. But eating it air-popped or microwaved is a good way to go. Microwave popcorn has more calories than air-popped but the amount of polyphenols is the same.
So next time you need a quick, healthy snack, reach for the popcorn and enjoy!