Pass the popcorn; it’s good for you

A new study says the light and airy snack is loaded with antioxidants, and it is actually good for you.

It’s true, a few cups of popcorn a day will can help keep the doctor away, or at least, it will give you a hefty serving of fruit and vegetable-size servings of healthy antioxidants.

Researchers from the University of Scranton found that popcorn has much more of a type of antioxidants called polyphenols than fruits or vegetables.

While encouraging and welcome news, health experts say that you shouldn’t pass on the fruits and veggies.

Fruits and vegetables provide more than just antioxidants. They are loaded with vitamins, minerals and lots of other good-for-you benefits absent in popcorn.

And, take note, the way you prepare your popcorn can make or break the “good for you” qualities.

Plain, air-popped popcorn is the best. Skip the salt, butter, oil and other fancy and fat-laden toppings.

Microwave popcorn poses added risks. The artificial butter flavoring in many microwave varieties contain compounds that have been linked to lung disease. Even plain microwave varieties, linked to liver, testicular and pancreatic cancer in animals, can be bad for you.

Popcorn, 100 percent whole grain, is also an excellent source of fiber, and it is low calorie to boot. A 4-cup serving of plain popcorn contains just 120-130 calories.

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