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Don't Forget to Eat Your Fruits, Veggies ... and Popcorn?

The whole-grain treat a good choice for guilt-free snacking, researchers say

SUNDAY, March 25 (HealthDay News) -- Want a healthy snack? Consider passing the popcorn. A new study says the whole-grain treat contains more of the "good for you" antioxidants called polyphenols than some fruits or vegetables.

The amount of polyphenols in popcorn was up to 300 milligrams (mg) per serving compared with 114 mg per serving of sweet corn and 160 mg per serving for all fruits, according to study findings to be presented Sunday at a meeting of the American Chemical Society in San Diego. This is because polyphenols are diluted in the 90 percent water that makes up many fruits and vegetables, whereas they are more concentrated in popcorn, which averages only about 4 percent water, the study authors said.

In the average U.S. diet, fruits provide 255 mg of polyphenols per day and vegetables provide 218 mg per day. One serving of popcorn would provide 13 percent of the average daily intake of polyphenols per person in the United States, the Pennsylvania researchers said in a society news release.

The levels of polyphenols in popcorn reported in this study were higher than previously believed. The levels were similar to those found in nuts and 15 times the levels found in whole-grain tortilla chips, the researchers said.

The investigators also found that the hulls of popcorn -- the bits that tend to get caught in the teeth -- have the highest concentrations of polyphenols and fiber.

"Those hulls deserve more respect," study author Joe Vinson, of the University of Scranton, said in the news release.

However, Vinson warned, adding butter, salt and other calorie-laden flavorings can turn this snack into a bucketful of trouble.

"Air-popped popcorn has the lowest number of calories, of course," Vinson said. "Microwave popcorn has twice as many calories as air-popped, and if you pop your own with oil, this has twice as many calories as air-popped popcorn. About 43 percent of microwave popcorn is fat, compared to 28 percent if you pop the corn in oil yourself."

Vinson also added that eating popcorn shouldn't be an excuse to skip the fresh fruits and vegetables. Popcorn lacks the vitamins and other nutrients found in fruits and vegetables that are essential for good health.

Popcorn is the "only snack that is 100 percent unprocessed whole grain. All other grains are processed and diluted with other ingredients, and although cereals are called 'whole grain,' this simply means that over 51 percent of the weight of the product is whole grain," Vinson said.

"One serving of popcorn will provide more than 70 percent of the daily intake of whole grain. The average person only gets about half a serving of whole grains a day, and popcorn could fill that gap in a very pleasant way," he noted.

The study was funded by the university and received no money from the food industry. The data and conclusions of research presented at medical meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information:
The Harvard School of Public Health has more about antioxidants.

-- Robert Preidt
SOURCE: American Chemical Society, news release, March 25, 2012

Health Day, News for Healthier LivingReprinted from HealthDay
Copyright 2012

Popcorn lays claim as perfect snack

Most of us recognize fruit, vegetables, lean meat, nuts and dairy as regular recommended components of a healthy diet, but a new study finds that popcorn contains more healthful antioxidant substances called polyphenols than fruits and vegetables.

Further, popcorn averages only about 4 percent water, while polyphenols are diluted more in the 90 percent water that makes up most fruits and vegetables.

And, the part of popcorn you hate, the hulls that get stuck in your teeth, is actually the healthiest part, with the highest concentration of polyphenols and fiber.

It's 100 percent unprocessed whole grain, and one serving provides 70 percent of the recommended daily intake ~ the average person eats only half a serving of whole grains a day.

Perhaps, with the right marketing, popcorn is a "growth" industry for farmers on the Golden Plains.

McCook Daily Gazette
reprinted from the Kearney HUB
Monday April 2, 2012


6 easy ways to Prevent a Stroke



Serving seafood once a week slashes stroke risk 50%, Harvard researchers say. Omega-3 fatty acids in fish reduce the artery-damaging inflammation that thickens blood and leads to clots.



Downing 24 oz. of water daily can cut your stroke risk up to 50%. Water thins blood, so it is less likely to form clots in the brain.



Eating 1/4 cup of potassium-rich raisins or other dried fruit daily could cut your stroke risk 25% or more. Potassium helps prevent artery-damaging blood pressure spikes.



Consuming as little as one cup daily can slash a woman's stroke risk 43%, suggests the landmark Boston Nurses' Study. The fiber in popcorn helps to lower bad cholesterol levels, keeping arteries clear and preventing the formation of the blood clots behind most strokes.



A recent study of 35,000 women suggests that walking roughly 17 minutes a day reduces stroke risk 30%-if you walk at a pace at which you can still comfortably talk. Women who pushed themselves to run or cycle super-hard instead didn't get this same stroke protection!



Enjoying two cups daily flushes out up to five pounds of fluids, lowering blood pressure as effectively as some Rxs, but without negative side effects. Find it in health-food stores.

The Aspirin Solution

Next time you're at the doctor's office, ask if low-dose aspirin therapy might be right for you. For some women, taking 50 mg. to 80 mg. of aspirin daily can single-handedly cut stroke risk 26%.

Women's World MagazineReprinted from Women's World Magazine
January 23, 2012, page15
"6 easy ways to Prevent a Stroke"

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