Blueberries, walnuts, salmon…popcorn? When we think “best anti-aging superfood”, it’s difficult to picture popcorn as a top good-for-you nosher.
But yes, you heard right: Popcorn was declared “the perfect snack food” at the recent annual meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world’s largest scientific society. Scientists reported that it contains loads more of the healthful antioxidant called polyphenols than fruits and vegetables. Polyphenols are known to put breaks on skin inflammation, protect skin cells from environmental damage, and promote our healing and cancer-fighting abilities.
As a healthy snack, part of the popcorn power also lies in its high fiber content – it fills you up and prevent overeating, and is linked to better cholesterol, blood sugar and digestive health. In fact, this golden nugget is the only snack that is 100 percent unprocessed whole grain. Most other “whole grains” like cereals are often processed and diluted with other ingredients. One serving of popcorn will provide more than 70 percent of the daily intake of whole grain, and in a easily enjoyable form for both adults and kids alike.
No, we’re not saying that you should forgo fresh fruits, veggies and whole grains—all major sources of fiber, antioxidants, as well as other vitamins and valuable nutrients that the kernel may lack—but popcorn definitely wins hands down compared to chips and pastry puff when it comes to age-staving healthy bite.
And before you go nuts at the movie theater, sorry…but those don’t make the cut! A medium tub of fat- and sugar-laden movie-theater popcorn and soda can be your worst nutritional nightmare, hiding the equivalent of 3 McDonald’s Quarter Pounders with 12 pats of butter.
Air-popped popcorn is the best, with the lowest number of calories. Alternatively, pop your kernels on the stove instead of going for microwave popcorn bags which as higher calories and potential exposure to chemicals from the microwave bag lining.
– By Claudia Lin