Is popcorn a health food?
Not quite, but according to a new analysis, you shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss its nutritional benefits. Presenting research at the American Chemical Society meeting on Sunday, Joe Vinson, a professor of chemistry at University of Scranton, reported that popcorn may contain just as many healthful antioxidants — or even more, depending on how you measure them — as fruits and vegetables.
Antioxidant compounds called polyphenols, which have been associated with combating cancer, are commonly found in produce. Vinson and his colleagues also found it in popcorn, by grinding up the popped kernels, including the waxy hulls, and simulating the digestion process that would normally occur in the stomach. About 1.5% by weight of air-popped popcorn is made up of polyphenols, the researchers found (the good-for-you compounds are also present in red wine and chocolate).