Every time we go to the movies, my wife makes a snide comment about my popcorn eating habit. (Usually, the large size popcorn bag is empty about the time the trailers end . . .). Now, thanks to some new research being reported on in NutraIngredients, I can tell her that I am eating a health food.
It turns out that certain cereals and snacks like popcorn may be healthier than previously thought thanks to their unusually high antioxidant content. At a meeting of the American Chemical Society, scientists from the University of Scranton (Pennsylvania) indicated these items have “surprisingly large” amounts of antioxidants called polyphenols.
According to the poster presentation at the ACS, whole grains are responsible for the polyphenol content, which is high enough even after baking to rival established antioxidant sources such as fruit and veggies.
Lead researcher Joe Vinson, a chemist at the University of Scranton, said the research revealed higher polyphenol levels than previous studies because it looked at the total antioxidant content rather than just focusing on free antioxidants, which are the ones not bound to sugar. Cereals made with oats were found to have the highest antioxidant content with corn in second place and wheat coming third.
Certain snack foods made from corn are over-processed, which removes all the antioxidant possibilities. This would include corn chips or Tortilla chips, as one example. Popcorn, however, is indeed full of antioxidants!