Monday, July 25, 2011

The Health Benefits of Popcorn

Most people don't think of popcorn as being a healthy treat. A new study suggests otherwise.
Some people balk at the idea of popcorn being a healthy snack.  Popcorn prepared without a pool of butter and a heavy layer of salt may not be so unhealthy after all.
A study conducted in 2009 at the University of Scranton showed that popcorn has some surprising health benefits. Popcorn is high in antioxidants, most notably, polyphenols – a group of natural plant chemicals that have a variety of health benefits. Polyphenols are the same group of compounds that give red wine, tea, olive oil, and chocolate their beneficial properties. Not only do they scavenge free radicals and protect against cell damage, they’re being investigated for their anti-cancer properties and heart protective properties. In fact, the researchers found that the polyphenol content of good, old-fashioned popcorn rivals that of many fruits and vegetables.

Another health benefit of popcorn? It’s a whole grain in the same league as oatmeal, barley, brown rice, and millet – grains that are known for their health benefits. All of these grains retain the bran and germ of the plant which is the source of most of the vitamins and minerals - in contrast to refined grains where these vitamin-rich components have been stripped away. Three cups of popcorn is equivalent to a single serving of a whole grain food. Popcorn is also a good source of fiber which helps to increase satiety and give a sense of fullness and satisfaction that lasts for hours. This can be helpful for weight control since popcorn without butter is low in calories.

Who knew? Going to a Digiplex theater can be good for your health as well as a great way to spend an evening. 

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