Popcorn: The Snack With Even Higher Antioxidants Levels Than Fruits And Vegetables, Presented at a meeting of the American Chemical Society, March 2012
The amount of polyphenols found in popcorn was up to 300 mg a serving compared to 114 mg for a serving of sweet corn and 160 mg for all fruits per serving. In addition, one serving of popcorn would provide 13 percent of an average intake of polyphenols a day per person in the U.S. Fruits provide 255 mg per day of polyphenols and vegetables provide 218 mg per day to the average U.S. diet.
The levels of polyphenols rivaled those in nuts and were up to 15 times greater than whole-grain tortilla chips.
The hulls of the popcorn — the part that everyone hates for its tendency to get caught in the teeth — actually has the highest concentration of polyphenols and fiber.
Popcorn may be the perfect snack food. It’s the only snack that is 100 percent unprocessed whole grain.
If most of the polyphenols reside in the hulls, do we digest them enough to get the benefit? Dr. Joe Vinson, the study’s lead researcher, did a “digestion simulation”:
“We did our own digestion (research) that doesn’t use enzymes, and you as a human being have enzymes and different pH changes to digest food,” he said.
So there’s a good chance those antioxidants are getting digested and absorbed.
Popcorn is whole grain, high in fiber, low in fat, low in calories, and high in antioxidants. There’s not a lot out there that can compete with that.