Chemistry professor Joe Vinson of the University of Scranton and Michael G. Coco, an undergraduate chemistry major, said the polyphenols are more concentrated in popcorn, which averages only about 4 percent water, while polyphenols are diluted in the 90 percent water that makes up many fruits and vegetables.
However, Vinson was quick to point out popcorn cannot replace fresh fruits and vegetables in a healthy diet because fruits and vegetables contain vitamins and other nutrients that are critical for good health that are missing from popcorn. But it can make a good snack if air-popped, Vinson added.
The study found popcorn contains as much as 300 milligrams of polyphenols per serving, compared to 114 milligrams in a serving of sweet corn and 160 milligrams for all fruits per serving.
In addition, one serving of popcorn would provide up to 300 milligrams a serving of polyphenols a day per U.S. adult versus fruit, which provides 255 milligrams per day of polyphenols and vegetables provide 218 milligrams per day.
The hulls of the popcorn contain the highest concentration of polyphenols and fiber, researchers said.
The findings were published in the 243rd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society in San Diego.
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