Popcorn Has More Healthful Antioxidants Than Fruits and Vegetables

by Lois Etienne on June 9, 2012

in Diabetes,Lifestyle,Senior Health and Safety

Do you like to munch but don’t want the fat and calories of chips? Try popcorn that has a minimal amount of salt and butter – many seniors love it – and there are more reasons to feast on it. Popcorn’s reputation as a snack food that’s healthy popped up a few notches recently as scientists reported that it contains more of the healthful antioxidant substances called “polyphenols” than fruits and vegetables.

Researchers discovered that popcorn hulls – the part that gets caught in teeth – has the highest concentration of polyphenols and fiber. “Those hulls deserve more respect,” said Vinson, who is with the University of Scranton (Pa). “They are nutritional gold nuggets.”

The overall findings led Vinson to declare, “Popcorn may be the perfect snack food. It’s the only snack that is 100 percent unprocessed whole grain. All other grains are processed and diluted with other ingredients. One serving of popcorn will provide more than 70 percent of the daily intake of whole grain. The average person gets only about half a serving of whole grains a day, and popcorn could fill that gap in a very pleasant way.”

Vinson cautioned, however, that the way people prepare and serve popcorn can quickly put a dent in its healthful image. Cook it in a potful of oil, slather on butter or the fake butter used in many movie theaters, pour on the salt; eat it as “kettle corn” cooked in oil and sugar – and popcorn can become a nutritional nightmare loaded with fat and calories.

Another way to get help eating a nutritious diet is through mealtime assistance. A Home Instead CAREGiver could support a healthy diet by providing companionship, shopping and meal preparation assistance.

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