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Quick Tip: Popcorn Packs a Health Punch

High in fiber and antioxidants, popcorn can be a healthy snack.

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If you’re looking for healthy foods to snack on, try adding popcorn to your list. This “king of snack foods” packs more healthy antioxidants than many fruits and vegetables. Popcorn is a naturally high-fiber whole grain food that can be eaten without the guilt of many other snacks you’d enjoy while watching the latest basketball game on your wide screen. In addition, researchers have recently discovered that popcorn contains large quantities of polyphenols, antioxidants that can reverse damage done to the body by unstable molecules called free radicals. Ninety percent of these healthy polyphenols are found in the hull of the popcorn, so steer toward freshly-popped as opposed to processed. The results—unlike the popcorn—should be taken with a grain of salt. The study wasn’t designed to measure popcorn’s health benefits. Future research will need to be done to see how much of the polyphenols are absorbed by the body and whether popcorn can really claim its healthy status. As with other foods high in antioxidants—such as red wine and chocolate—moderation is key. Avoid dousing the popcorn in salt or butter. And keep eating your fruits and vegetables. Unlike popcorn, they are also filled with important vitamins and minerals.

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