I used to think popcorn was just a light, filling and fiber-rich snack that helped fill the belly between lunch and dinner and was a staple of office workers everywhere. Yes, our office has at least five seriously burnt bags of popcorn clear out the office per year.
But then I started to find out that there are studies showing that popcorn is actually high in antioxidant value. I was actually shocked because let’s face it, it tastes great as a snack, but it doesn’t exactly lend itself to high antioxidant value. It’s not brightly colored, it’s not filled with pulp, and it’s not a fruit.
However, new research is suggesting that popcorn may have just as much antioxidant value as various high antioxidant fruits like berries and some citrus fruits – all in that little tiny part in the middle we don’t give much thought to – the hull.
The hull of each piece of popcorn contains an estimated 90% of the piece of popcorn’s total antioxidants! I find this confounding since popcorn is really nothing more than dried kernels of normal corn. Corn, which doesn’t really have a lot of antioxidants on its own, but yet seems to somehow develop them during the corn drying process (don’t ask me how).
Researchers actually looked at a couple different brands of popcorn to do their research and found that microwave brands contain almost as much as the non microwaved, oven top cooked stuff. Also, it’s important to note that organic popcorn probably contains more antioxidants than the non-organic variety.
Organic produce almost always yields more nutrients because the fruit or veggie is not irradiated, a process where the produce is radiated in order to preserve it longer which is thought to deplete it of precious nutrients. After all, isn’t that why we eat our fruits and veggies!?
Who would have thought that the bland taste and light fluffy piece of popcorn would have nutritional value!? At least to this degree! Remember though, drowning them in saturated fat-filled butter and salt won’t help your case – it pretty much negates the whole healthy thing.