Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Popcorn’s Health Benefits

Finding healthy snack foods can be a challenge. Popcorn has been promoted and panned over the years by health scientists. Here is a new study that suggests that popcorn may be better for you than we thought. Vinson and colleagues presented research at the 2009 annual meeting of the American Chemical Society, reporting that popcorn contains large amounts of polyphenols, compounds that have been found to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. The study found that popcorn contains amounts of polyphenols similar to that contained in fruits and vegetables. Popcorn was found to have the highest levels of these compounds of all the tested whole-grain snacks.

A prior concern about popcorn is whether it may increase the risk of developing diverticulitis in susceptible individuals. This concern was addressed by a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2008, showing no increased risk of diverticulitis among those who ate popcorn, nuts, corn, and other indigestible seeds compared with those who avoid these foods. In fact, there was a slight protective effect in this study; those with a higher consumption of popcorn or nuts had the lowest incidence of diverticulitis and newly discovered diverticulosis.

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