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Popcorn Good Source of Antioxidants

Popcorn and Antioxidants

Next time you are sitting at the movies eating your popcorn, remember that popcorn is a good source of antioxidants, which are substances or nutrients in our foods which can prevent or slow the oxidative damage to our body.

Researchers have measured the total antioxidant content of popcorn as well as many breakfast cereals and whole-grain snacks. They have discovered that these tasty snacks are packed with large amounts of antioxidant substances called polyphenols which is very good in preventing disease. Polyphenols are often associated with the seeds and skins of fruits and vegetables and are a major reason why wine, chocolate, and coffee have been become well known for their potential role in fighting cancer, heart disease and other diseases.

"Early researchers thought the fiber was the active ingredient for these benefits in whole grains, the reason why they may reduce the risk of cancer and coronary heart disease," researcher Joe Vinson, PhD, of the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, says in a news release. "But recently, polyphenols emerged as potentially more important. Breakfast cereals, pasta, crackers, and salty snacks constitute over 66% of whole grain intake in the U.S. diet."

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The problem with eating this savory whole gain product is what we put on it. Popcorn is normally served with lots of butter and salt which is not healthy. To get the full antioxidant benefits people need to eat the popcorn plain and lightly salt it, or popcorn where the only additions to it are other healthy items.

This research included breakfast cereals as well. Raisin Bran had the highest antioxidant count per serving but researchers say this was primarily because of the addition of phenol-rich raisins. The results showed a wide variation in the antioxidant content of cold cereals. For instance, cinnamon- and cocoa-flavored cereals were much higher in antioxidants than would be expected from their grain content alone. This is because bran cereals made from wheat are not much higher in antioxidants than other wheat cereals, but they have more fiber.

Eating popcorn, which is a good source of antioxidants help Americans improve their diet and poor diet is the major cause of most disease. So sit back, have some lightly salted popcorn or a handful of dry lightly sweetened cereal and feel guilt free about your snack while reaping in the benefits.

ABC News