Popcorn has been dubbed the healthiest snack thanks to its high antioxidant levels.
With more polyphenols – an antioxidant substance – than fruit and vegetables, the snack was found to be the healthiest option for those who like to snack at the 243rd National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS).
Joe Vinson, a pioneer in analysing the health benefits in chocolate, nuts and other common foods explained that the polyphenols are more concentrated in popcorn which averages only 4 per cent water, while the polyphenols in fruit and vegetables are diluted in the 90 per cent water that they are made up of.
Researcher also found the hulls of popcorn – the corn pieces that often remain unpopped at the bottom of the bowl – contained the highest concentration of polyphenols and fibre.
“Popcorn may be the perfect snack food,” said Vinson.
“It is the only snack that is 100 per cent 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 per cent of the weight of the product is whole grain.”
Vinson added that one serving of popcorn will provide more than 70 per cent of the daily intake of whole grain.
Although it might be filled with antioxidants, researchers stressed that popcorn is not a replacement for fruit and vegetable in our diets and that we should be careful in eating popcorn that is air-popped over microwaved or cooked in oil to cut back on calories.