Popcorn, cereals hidden sources of antioxidants

August 19, 2009 2:44:53 PM PDT
Breakfast cereals and popcorn may be healthier for us than once thought.

New research finds that these sources of whole grains provide a surprising amount of disease-fighting antioxidants.

A chemistry professor at the University of Scranton explained his findings at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society.

Research has shown that eating whole grain foods reduces the risk for heart disease, obesity, and certain cancers. While these health benefits were originally thought to come from high fiber content of grains, a new study shows that antioxidants, like those found in popcorn and breakfast cereals, might be a more important ingredient for fighting off disease.

Researchers looked at the total levels of antioxidants in common breakfast cereals and snack foods and found that many of them contained a surprising amount of an antioxidant known as polyphenol.

While polyphenol is best known for lending disease-fighting power to foods like chocolate, wine, and coffee, researchers discovered that many of the whole grains common to the American diet also contain significant levels of this antioxidant.

Breakfast cereals made with wheat or corn had the highest levels of polyphenol and among snack foods, popcorn was the best source for this antioxidant.

But you have to skip the butter, and go easy on the salt to keep the popcorn healthy.

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