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Pass the Popcorn!

Pop some of this healthy snack

BHM Edit Staff | 10/7/2013, 10 a.m.
October is Popcorn Popping Month. depositphotos

You may know you’re supposed to get at least half of your daily allowance of grains from whole grains, but did you know popcorn counts as a whole grain? It does (it’s 100 percent whole grain, in fact). Three cups of the fluffy snack count as one serving.

Often considered junk food, popcorn is also a terrific way to increase your dietary fiber intake, which helps you maintain a healthy weight and prevents constipation. And a 2012 study from the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania found that popcorn’s hull is rich in polyphenols, antioxidants that prevent cell damage. Other research supports the University of Scranton study, and also suggests that ferulic acid, one antioxidant found in popcorn, appears to provide some protection against diabetes, cancer, heart disease and neuro-degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Though researchers aren’t suggesting you eat popcorn alone to get these healthy benefits—fruits and vegetables also contain polyphenols—they do say the snack has an undeserved bad reputation because of what’s put on it. We say skip the movie theater butter and salt and you should be just fine.